Fresh Wrap Ep 02: Food as Medicine: Nourishing Australia: A decadal plan

MELISSA ADAMSKI: Hi everyone. We’re here to talk about
‘Nourishing Australia’ which is the decadal plan
for the science of nutrition, released by the Academy
of Science, here in Australia in July 2019. And I’m here with Helen
who was a member of the committee that developed
these guidelines. We’re very excited to have
a chat to you today about what this plan means
for Australia, but also globally around
the world for nutrition as well. So Helen, tell us more about why
the Academy of Science decided to put out a decadal
plan for nutrition here in Australia. HELEN TRUBY: Well we’re very
excited that the national Academy took on this challenge
of having a decadal plan. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Absolutely. HELEN TRUBY: Nutrition is a huge
area and it involves everyone from agriculture, right the way through
to thinking about what individuals
are particularly eating. And so the decadal plan really
was an opportunity for the community of nutrition
science to get together and to communicate,
and to collaborate, and to think about what should
the main goals be. How are we going to get there
in meeting some of the broader issues that we have a nutrition? We have a big problem
with over-nutrition and we also have a problem
with under-nutrition. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Absolutely. HELEN TRUBY: And it’s really
thinking about, you know what are the elements
that we need to do in the next 10 years to try and ensure
that there is an equitable and fair food supply
that everyone can afford to have a healthy diet? And that we’re hopeful
that we can then start to reduce the number
of diet related diseases in particular in our community. That would be a massive step
forward for all Australians. MELISSA ADAMSKI: That’s right. Because from what I understand
when we look at Australia compared to the Global Nutrition
reports that have been put out by The W.H.O., we’re only meeting with two
out of the nine targets? HELEN TRUBY: Yes so we’re
on track for two, which is really not good enough. MELISSA ADAMSKI: No! HELEN TRUBY: So we really want
to try and do nutrition better, and because it impacts across
a whole lot of things. You know, it’s not just about the food
in the shop for instance. It is important
that we understand the food system. What good food really is going
to do for our population. And of course at
an individual level, science is always evolving. You know we’re learning new
things about you know how potentially individuals will
respond to different dietary patterns or different foods. And we need to understand
that as well. So it’s also about guiding
research community as well over what are the real issues
that Australians are going to face.
So the decadal plan: yes it’s a major step forward.
It’s a wonderful document. MELISSA ADAMSKI: And
what I really loved, and what you said just before
I was around was bringing the entire nutrition community
together because it’s not just about
nutritionists or dietitians, nutrition science touches
so many other areas of science. HELEN TRUBY: Absolutely. MELISSA ADAMSKI: And
you mentioned a couple like agricultural science,
public health et cetera, and so having that chance
to bring everyone together and have
a say, I think is is a
fantastic opportunity. HELEN TRUBY: It’s certainly been
quite a collaborative approach and it’s been fantastic to be
out to get out and talk to so many people about
nutrition as well, which as you know, is my
favourite subject. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Absolutley. HELEN TRUBY: And also thinking
about how do we communicate nutrition better to the public? I know that’s something
that’s dear to your heart as well. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Oh absolutely. I’m very interested around
researching you know, how we can better communicate, and how we can continue
to be evidence based leaders in this space. But give the public what they’d
like to learn as well, because the learning
landscape is changing. HELEN TRUBY: Indeed. MELISSA ADAMSKI: So Helen, I believe the decadal plan
is based around four pillars, that have to do with nutrition. Would you like to step us
through what those four are? HELEN TRUBY: Yes sure. So the first pillar is really
around societal determinants. So it’s really looking at how
food systems need to evolve that we can ensure that all
Australians have a safe food supply, a nutritious food supply
and it’s equitable. So how do we actually support
nutrition right from agriculture through
to what goes on people’s plates at a systems level. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Yeah
because I suppose knowing what to eat and being
able to eat that are two completely different things. You know as a
practising dietitian, that’s sometimes frustrating. And you see it with
your patients, that they sometimes know
what to eat but actually doing it is a different thing. HELEN TRUBY: Yeah. So that’s
the first pillar. The second pillar really
looks at nutrition mechanisms. So in other words you know, what do we know about
the science of nutrition, and how dietary patterns might
might change and might alter, and how do people
respond to those. So thinking about you know, what the research program
should be for the future as well. The third pillar is interesting
because this is really looking forward ten years, because obviously
the decadal plan is thinking about where
we’re going to be in 2030. And it’s really thinking
about personalized nutrition. So in terms of, you know, we know that our genetic
makeup is important and potentially where
that’s going to lead us in being able to give people
more specific tailored advice. So that’s kind of like opening
the box for the future. MELISSA ADAMSKI: interesting. HELEN TRUBY: And the final
pillar is really the very, very important one is about
education and training. So how do we actually
get a nutritional literate workforce for instance? And how do we translate
that information, the evidence based information
to the public? So something I know that you’re
particularly interested as well. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Absolutely my
research does deal with about how we can better
communicate in the public, to sorry, to the public, in this changing landscape
where access to information is universal now basically. HELEN TRUBY: Indeed.
And in nutrition, we have a lot of other
voices as well in terms of thinking about you know,
the food industry, of advertising, of marketing.
And it’s really thinking, how do we actually get some
of those messages across to all health professionals? So we need to upskill doctors
and nurses and school-teachers and all kinds of people about
actually giving the same messages. So I think one of the problems
that we have in nutrition is there’s a multitude
of messages and people get very confused about
what they’re supposed to do. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Yes.
Who’s right! HELEN TRUBY: So we’re trying
to think, can we work a way, about having a single
voice in nutrition. So there’s more consistency
that the public can actually understand.
And to think about, how they make their individual
food choices. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Yes. HELEN TRUBY: So the decadal plan
really is also about how we involve nutritionists
and dietitians and alternative practitioners as well. And one of the big things
is going to be around potentially having one academy
for nutritionists so again you know thinking
about it broader, how did the public
identify nutritionists and different types of people, and where they can go
to for personalized or tailored advice, and what sort of advice
they’re going to get. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Because we’re
all working to the same goal really aren’t we. To help improve people’s health
and help them understand more about the foods and how
that affects their health as well. HELEN TRUBY: Absolutely. MELISSA ADAMSKI: So bringing
everyone together I think is is a fantastic
idea and collaborating rather than competing I suppose. HELEN TRUBY: So we know
that nutrition is the one thing that probably
everyone has in common. You know every individual
has to eat. We all have to eat. We all need to make
decisions every day in every mealtime potentially
about what foods we actually eat. And it’s really thinking
about in another 10 years, or will it — hopefully won’t
take us that long. Is that how we can actually
improve the way that people communicate about nutrition. That we’ve got more consistency
of information, and that people can trust
nutritionists to actually give them the right advice. I think that’s a really
big challenge for us all. There’s lots in the
decadal plan, so I would really encourage
everyone to have a look at it. Use it as a roadmap.
And use it to think, you know where your research
should go or where you should be encouraging
people to look for information. And I’m sure there’ll
be a lot more about it in the next few years. MELISSA ADAMSKI: And
it is available from the Australian Academy
of Science’s website to download, so you can easily get your hands
on a copy I guess and have a read of that. HELEN TRUBY: And
being nutritionists, of course we want everyone
to know a bit more about nutrition because it
is the best subject. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Oh absolutely.
And we love food! BOTH: (Both laugh). HELEN TRUBY: This is a way
of doing it. I guess that’s one of the
reasons why we actually developed our free courses:
“Food as Medicine’, and the suite of courses
that also support health professionals in some of the
challenges that they have around nutrition. Because of its complexity
and difficulty. MELISSA ADAMSKI: absolutely.
And you know a number of those courses really
resonate what do you see in the decadal plan as well. We have one around
“Food and our Genome”: that is looking at an
introduction to personalized nutrition, and where the evidence
currently sits around that. We have one around “Talking
about Weight”: or having conversations about
weight with your patients. HELEN TRUBY: And that’s
particularly for G.P.s and health professionals
who find those conversations quite difficult. And it’s really trying
to encourage people to have the skills to have positive
conversations where weight is impacting on people’s health. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Definitely.
And then we also have one around ‘Fertility
and Pregnancy’: so food, fertility
and pregnancy, because early life nutrition
is incredibly important. And we know that you know, there are many different health
care backgrounds that are involved in that
that process there. So knowing about nutrition
and being able to answer some questions with patients
is definitely important there. And then we have two
that are on the cutting edge of nutrition as well. So one around “Food
and Inflammation’, and then also one around “Food,
Exercise and the Gut’: which is really at the forefront
of looking around the microbiome
and how that intersects with physical activity and what
some of those outcomes are there. HELEN TRUBY: So there’s
certainly a lot to do and a lot to learn about nutrition. So we would recommend
that you have a look at the decadal plan wherever
you are in the world. It’s going to provide some
information and some perhaps some planning ideas
about where research should go and where your
education might want to upskill. If you’re interested
in our courses please do look and see what’s on offer. We’re very proud of our suite
of courses that we deliver here at Monash University.
And thank you for your time. MELISSA ADAMSKI: everyone.

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