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Appendix to the Australian Dietary Guidelines: Dietary Guidelines through an environmental lens submission

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Cancer Council Australia
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Non-Government Organisation
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Submission from Cancer Council Australia to the National Health and Medical Research Council on the draft Appendix to the Australian Dietary Guidelines: Australian Dietary Guidelines through an environmental lens

Cancer Council Australia is Australia’s peak national non-government cancer control organisation. Its members are the eight state and territory cancer organisations working together to undertake and fund cancer research, prevent and control cancer, and provide information and support for people affected by cancer.

Cancer Council’s goal is to lead the development and promotion of national cancer control policy in Australia, in order to prevent cancer and reduce the illness, disability and death caused by cancer.

Cancer Council welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) about the draft appendix to the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Due to its importance for the food system, we believe environmental sustainability should have been included as a chapter in the body of the Australian Dietary Guidelines. However in the absence of a chapter, we support the inclusion of the appendix; Australian Dietary Guidelines through an environmental lens.

Environmental sustainability in relation to food is an important consideration which had already been recognised in the 2003 publication Food for Health in the section Special considerations, C - Dietary guidelines and the sustainability of food systems. Since this time, evidence recognising the importance of the environmental impact of our food choices has grown significantly. The National Food Plan Green Paper included a section on improving our natural resource base which addressed some considerations around sustainable food production, farming and fishing practices. The National Dietary Guidelines should link with and support the National Food Plan and therefore it would be a backwards step to remove this appendix entirely.

Our recommendations regarding a diet consistent with cancer prevention are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines’ recommendations regarding a variety of nutritious foods, and the impact of food choices on the environment needs to be part of Australian Dietary Guidelines.

The Dietary Guidelines are an important independent tool to guide Australians in making healthier food choices, reducing their risk of developing chronic diseases and maintaining a healthy weight. The inclusion of environmental considerations is important when looking at our food supply into the future.

Cancer Council is pleased to be able to contribute to the consultation process for the draft appendix to the Dietary Guidelines. Should you require clarification of any of the above recommendations, please contact:

Kathy Chapman
Chair, Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee
Cancer Council Australia

Page reviewed: 4 February, 2013