• Open Access

The future of public health nutrition: a critical policy analysis of Eat Well Australia

Authors


Correspondence to:
Amber Bastian, School of Medicine, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, South Australia 5001; e-mail: bast0058@flinders.edu.au

Abstract

Objective: To better understand how public health nutrition has been represented during the past decade in Australia this paper critically analyses Eat Well Australia: An Agenda for Action for Public Health Nutrition 2000 – 2010 and its accompanying National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan.

Method: The paper uses an interpretive approach, drawing on Bacchi's method of problem representation, to examine the strategies being offered within the policy. It uses this framework to uncover how public health nutrition has been represented and examines if the representation provided considers all aspects of the issue. The paper also considers how contextual factors affected policy development through examination of publicly available documents.

Results: The problem is represented as being both an individual one and one due to social, structural and economic circumstances. There is a large focus on collaboration, research and capacity building. The context of the policy's development has affected the solutions contained within.

Conclusion: The policy's proposed actions reflect the policy-making environment in which it was conceived. A manifestation of this was unclear division of roles and responsibilities, lack of dedicated resources and inadequate focus on the social determinants of health.

Implications: As the policy's timeframe is drawing to its end, critical reflection on how the problem of nutrition has been represented over the previous decade provides greater insight and awareness to direct future public health nutrition work.

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