Promoting environments that foster healthy eating
Strengthening community and reducing health inequities is one of the ways that Community and Public Health aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in our region. We do this by providing education, taking a system-based approach and advocating policies that make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Specific work is focussed on actions and outcomes to create change in food, nutrition and physical activity environments and behaviours, such as increasing access to food (food security).
Community and Public Health staff work towards creating nutrition environments that foster and enable healthy eating, along with resources that support actions to reduce poor nutrition that may result in chronic disease. The key messages for a healthy lifestyle include:
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods.
- Eat more vegetables and fruits.
- Eat less processed foods that are often fatty, salty, and sugary.
- Exclusively breastfeed infants for six months where possible, and introduce complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for at least one year and beyond.
- Be active every day for at least 30 minutes in as many ways as possible.
- Add some vigorous exercise and resistance for extra benefit and fitness.
- Aim to maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
- Promote and foster the development of environments that support healthy lifestyles.
2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables
This global initiative aims at raising awareness on the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption.
The United Nations (UN) acknowledge the complex links that exist between agriculture and the entire food system – specifically the significant contribution of fruits and vegetables to the food security, generation of income, and employment of smallholders and family farmers.
The initiative is also a platform to inform the public about the high levels of food loss and waste in the supply and value chains for fruits and vegetables.
The key messages for the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables are:
- Innovate, cultivate, reduce food loss and waste: Innovation, improved technologies and infrastructure are critical to increase the efficiency and productivity within fruits and vegetables supply chains to reduce loss and waste.
- Foster sustainability: Sustainable and inclusive value chains can help increase production, help to enhance the availability, safety, affordability and equitable access to fruits and vegetables to foster economic, social and environmental sustainability.
- Growing prosperity: Cultivating fruits and vegetables can contribute to a better quality of life for family farmers and their communities. It generates income, creates livelihoods, improves food security and nutrition and enhances resilience through sustainably managed local resources and increased agro-biodiversity.
- Harness the goodness: Fruits and vegetables have multiple health benefits, including strengthening the immune system, that are essential for combating malnutrition in all its forms and overall prevention of non- communicable diseases.
- Live by a diverse diet: Fruits and vegetables should be consumed in adequate amounts daily as part of a diversified and healthy diet.
- Respect food from farm to table: Fruits and vegetables are highly perishable and special attention is needed to maintain their quality and safety through appropriate treatment and handling across the supply chain from production to consumption in order to minimise loss and waste.
Nourishing Futures with Better Kai
Community and Public Health West Coast developed this resource for parents of toddlers and young children.
This booklet is designed to help parents with all things nutrition for their little one, to set them up for healthy habits throughout their life.
Promoting nutrition in education and community settings
Promote nutrition in community and education settings has a direct impact on the health and motivation of those involved, including staff, and children or students.
Current work by Community and Public Health staff includes:
- supporting schools’ edible gardens and orchards;
- helping schools to develop nutrition policies around canteens, lunches and fundraising;
- assisting schools to become Water Only Schools;
- resourcing kaiako in early childhood settings around oral health issues such as tooth-friendly kai and drinks;
- encouraging early childhood settings to be breastfeeding friendly;
- supporting tertiary institutions to develop nutrition policies;
- supporting community groups with nutrition resources;
- working collaboratively to build a strong and resilient food system and increasing food security for Cantabrians; and
- providing expertise to help community organisations and councils develop and apply healthy food and beverage policies.
Helping to create healthier workplaces
Current initiatives in workplaces are focussed on assisting workplaces in the development of wellness programmes.
There is growing evidence that comprehensive workplace health promotion programs are cost effective and improve employee health. Identified benefits include increased employee satisfaction and retention, and decreased absenteeism and injuries on the job.
Community and Public Health has developed a framework that is flexible and easily adapted to suit the needs of an organisation. The framework consists of a step-by-step process with several different elements to create a tailored health promotion programme. This approach has been shown to increase morale in the workplace as employees work together to meet the challenges of adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Working to improve food resilience in Christchurch and Canterbury
Community and Public Health has an advisory role with the Food Resilience Network (FRN). The Network is the home of Edible Canterbury – a movement advocating for healthy and strengthened communities by:
- supporting existing local food producers;
- encouraging and educating for more locally grown food; and
- fostering relationships with key players in the food system to build a healthy resilient Canterbury.
A key project for the Food Resilience Network is the development of Ōtākaro Orchard. This will be a highly accessible, engaging, and unique orchard and garden in central Christchurch. The completed space will show sustainable and organic food systems in practice and build on its history as a place to gather mahinga kai.
Community and Public Health is also a signatory to the Edible Canterbury Charter.
Advice on healthy lifestyles for adults, children and teenagers
Eating well, drinking plenty of water, being active and getting enough quality sleep are key elements to help support a healthy lifestyle. Other factors include increasing your energy levels, supporting mental health, and maintaining the activities of daily living.
For more information, contact:
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125
Ph: +64 3 307 6902
Fax: +64 3 307 6904
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169
Contacts for individual or specialist nutrition support and advice
Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists help people to improve their health and lifestyle through optimal nutrition.
Feeding your family for less or on a budget
Community and Public Health staff are also interested in addressing issues around access and availability of affordable food (food security). This involves working with disadvantaged groups such as those on low incomes and those living alone (especially men). If you are finding it hard to make your food budget stretch, then try one of the following menu plans for some new ideas.
The Heart Foundation also produces two cookbooks of nutritious recipes on a budget:
Programmes to boost nutrition knowledge and literacy
Appetite for Life (AFL) is a six-week healthy lifestyle programme. This course focuses on small changes adding up to large improvements rather than dieting.
Senior Chef is a programme helping those 56 years and older. This course teaches meal planning, budgeting, and how to cook simple nutritious meals.
Join the Fruit and Vegetable Co-op in greater Christchurch
The Fruit and Vegetable Co-op is now called Foodtogether. It operates as a stand-alone social enterprise in Christchurch and North Canterbury, and is supported by the Healthy Life Trust.
There are also other fruit and vegetable co-operatives in Christchurch such as the: