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Supporting decision making to improve food supply and access in remote Indigenous communities

Dr Emma McMahon, Institution: Menzies School of Health Research

2016 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2017-2020


Heart disease is the main cause of death in the Indigenous Australian population, and those living in very remote areas are at the highest risk. The diet of people living in remote Indigenous communities is very high in salt and sugar but very low in fruit and vegetables; these factors increase risk of heart disease. Community leaders and other decision makers in remote Indigenous communities have indicated that real-time feedback on diet quality of their communities is fundamental to support them in making decisions to improve access to a healthy food supply.

This project will provide critical evidence to support provision of this timely feedback to both state/national policy makers and local decision makers. I will use one year of sales data from 40-50 stores to develop aggregate and individual community reports on diet quality and potential dietary improvement strategies. The aggregate reports will be provided to state- and national-level policy makers. To inform individual community reports, I will consult with local stakeholders (including community members) for feedback on the content and layout of reports.

These reports will be used to provide useful, meaningful, and relevant information regarding diet quality, heart disease risk and dietary improvement strategies to support community decision makers to improve food supply and access. If this causes shifts in dietary intake at the community level, this can be an important step to reducing heart disease risk.

This project is co-funded with NHMRC - National Health and Medical Research Council.

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