Is Aboriginal nutrition a priority for local government? A policy analysis

Catherine Helson, Ruth Walker, Claire Palermo, Kim Rounsefell, Yudit Aron, Catherine Macdonald, Petah Atkinson, Jennifer Browne

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The present study aimed to explore how Australian local governments prioritise the health and well-being of Aboriginal populations and the extent to which nutrition is addressed by local government health policy. Design In the state of Victoria, Australia, all seventy-nine local governments' public health policy documents were retrieved. Inclusion of Aboriginal health and nutrition in policy documents was analysed using quantitative content analysis. Representation of Aboriginal nutrition 'problems' and 'solutions' was examined using qualitative framing analysis. The socio-ecological framework was used to classify the types of Aboriginal nutrition issues and strategies within policy documents. Setting Victoria, Australia. Subjects Local governments' public health policy documents (n 79). Results A small proportion (14 %, n 11) of local governments addressed Aboriginal health and well-being in terms of nutrition. Where strategies aimed at nutrition existed, they mostly focused on individual factors rather than the broader macroenvironment. Conclusions A limited number of Victorian local governments address nutrition as a health issue for their Aboriginal populations in policy documents. Nutrition needs to be addressed as a community and social responsibility rather than merely an individual 'behaviour'. Partnerships are required to ensure Aboriginal people lead government policy development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3019-3028
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Aboriginal health
  • Health policy
  • Indigenous health
  • Local government
  • Policy
  • Policy analysis

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