It is a collaborative program that discusses several priority issues and then subsequently uses those disease issues as markers for improvement. The work does not specifically address nutrition, nor does it specifically address the ageing population, in any way other than the fact that this segment is more susceptible than others to the sic of the seven disease/marker areas of focus; arthritis/musculoskeletal disease, cancer control, cardiovascular health, Diabetes mellitus, injury prevention and control and mental health. The last issue addressed is asthma, but this leaves out the longevity health issues associated with lung health like COPD and emphysema. (AIHW, 2000) Secondarily the plan addresses nutrition only in the manner in which it contributes to the development and alleviation of health, as it associates with the particular health priority disease or health issue. TI also does not specifically address the aging of the population or the fact that this growing segment is at greater risk for many of the health issues it focuses on.
Two much more specific initiatives that support the issue in a more specific way are the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC, 1999), Dietary Guidelines for Older Australians. (NHMRC; 2005) and the National Public Health Partnership Eat Well Australia (NPHP, 2001) campaign which addresses the issues of nutrition as a public health concern in a more general sense. Both documents offer essential information and public health policy change plans for the future of the nutritional health of the whole and aging population of Australia. Dietary guidelines for Older Australians, offers the most specific information supporting prevention issues with regard to nutrition such as increased variety and healthy choice eating, eating three times per day, caring for food safely, increasing fruit and vegetable intake, high fiber carbohydrates, low saturated fat choices, drink plenty of healthy fluids, drink less alcohol, low sodium choices, decrease sugar intake, increase high calcium food consumption as well as improvement of physical activity level to reduce the incidence of obesity and therefore prevent disease among the elderly. The work is comprehensive but demonstrative of relatively low level address issues for healthy eating and lifestyle choices and does not address socioeconomic or other risk factors specific to the elderly. The Eat Well Australia campaign also does not offer specific high risk nutritional information for the elderly. The document itself is more an agenda/strategy plan for the management of health organizations with regard to nutrition. (NPHP, 2001) For the most part health initiatives in general discuss nutrition as an important factor to health, but do not address the specifics of the aging population with regard to nutrition as a public health agenda for the aging population. Those nutritional specific agendas also only rarely address the aging population specifically and much work must be done to create a better agenda and provide greater opportunity for education of this segment of the population with regard to nutritional health and support. This non-specific agenda information, though a good start is challenging as a source of real change and address of this issue for older Australians.
Discussion of if addressing this group as a homogenous group effective and appropriate
Some argue that addressing the issue as if the group was an homogenous group is essentially inappropriate as such address does not support the diversity of the population. (Read, 2004) Yet, it is clear that the data and reality support that nutrition is an essential issue of concern for this population and therefore the whole of the Australian population, especially considering its exponential growth. (Manuck, Jennings, Rabin, & Baum, 2000)
Recommendations of additional strategies or improvements to current health initiatives to better target older Australians over the next ten years
The generalized language of the nutrition and health initiatives is likely the diplomatic answer to keeping the issue one that does not directly assault older Australians with an over generalized assessment of poor lifestyle choice, as apposed to real opportunity and diversity. This addresses the question poorly and this researcher would advocate for improved direct address of causal as well as choice issues that are specific to the risk factors for the 60+ population. Over the next ten years Australia, along with many other nations must address this issue as a public health concern that is specific and diverse and provide greater opportunity for health and nutrition teaching in the population. Additionally, supporting system wide change will also have to address the functional reasons why aging Australians are at greater risk for becoming increased health burdens. This will involve improvement of programs, not just strategies for improvement that address access and economic issues associated with this growing segment of the population. This emphasis should include everything from economic reformation, transportation, housing and access issues for improved healthy eating choices and security, as well as educational venue improvement for the elderly and their support systems. (Olson, 1982) This extensive plan will include both public and private change issues and the development of better options for all, but should be focused specifically on the issues associated with risk in the aging populations. (Bullard, 2004) (Siemering, 2004)
This work specifically addresses and analyses what is being done with regard to the nutritional risks associated with aging and supports the need for social change. The causal and functional issues of poor nutrition in this growing segment of the Australian population will likely grow, with the population and answers must be specific and opportune. Nutrition among the elderly is such an integral part of mitigating social dependency and should be prioritized to a greater degree than it has been in the past. (Lawrence & Worsley, 2007)
Abbot, T. Office of the Ministry on Health and Aging, Commonwealth of Australia. Burden of Disease Report http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr07-ta-abb060.htm
Australian local government population ageing action plan 2004 -- 2008,
Australian I Health and Welfare (2000) National Health Priority Areas
Commonwealth of Australia (2001) National Strategy for an Ageing Australia http://www.ifa-fiv.org/attachments/062_Australia-2001-National%20Strategy%20for%20an%20Ageing%20Australia.pdf
Bullard, R.D. (2004). Addressing Urban Transportation Equity in the United States. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 31(5), 1183.
Lawrence, M. & Worsley, T. (Eds.). (2007). Public Health Nutrition: From Principles to Practice. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin.
Lewis, M.J. (2003). The People's Health: Public Health in Australia, 1950 To the Present.. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
Manuck, S.B., Jennings, R., Rabin, B.S., & Baum, A. (Eds.). (2000). Behavior, Health, and Aging. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Dietary guidelines for older Australians. Canberra: NHMRC; 2005 http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/withdrawn/n23.pdf
NPHP, 1999, Eat Well Australia is a national framework for action in public health nutrition, 2000 -- 2010, http://www.nphp.gov.au/publications/signal/eatwell1.pdf
Olson, L.K. (1982). The Political Economy of Aging: The State, Private Power, and Social Welfare. New York: Columbia University Press.
Osmani, S.R. (Ed.). (1992). Nutrition and Poverty. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Read, P. (2004). Counting, Health and Identity: A History of Aboriginal Health and Demography in Western Australia and Queensland. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2004(1), 121.
Siemering, A. (2004, May/June). Cooking Globally Eating Whenever: The Future of Dining; a Noted Food-Trend Specialist Shows What the World's Chefs Will Be Dishing Up in the Coming Years. The Futurist, 38, 51.
Wykle, M.L., Whitehouse, P.J., & Morris, D.L. (Eds.). (2005). Successful Aging through the Life Span: Intergenerational Issues in Health. New York: Springer.
Cardiovascular disease -- 69.3 per cent of the burden of disease was contributed to factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and physical inactivity;
Diabetes -- 60.1 per cent of the burden was due to obesity and physical inactivity;
Cancer -- 32.9 per cent was due to 10 poor lifestyle factors, primarily smoking;
Injury -- 31.7 per cent was due to seven poor lifestyle factors, primarily alcohol consumption; and,
Mental disorders -- 26.9 per cent of the burden was due to four poor lifestyle factors, mainly alcohol consumption and illicit drug use.