Healthy Food

The relationship between food, health and modern life can be improved through planning and design and the focus needs to range from the individual to society as a whole. At the local level, it means ensuring healthy food options are available within walking distance of houses, as well as in schools and workplaces. On a broader social level, improving transport and accessibility to healthy food options promotes healthy eating, particularly to the disadvantaged.

Wider again, creating community gardens can help community interaction while promoting mental, physical and environmental aspects. And, finally, safeguarding land for food growing and ensuring efficient transport infrastructure to deliver food must be a consideration of planners and governments.  

This section includes a broad range of case studies highlighting the breadth of ways to improve Australia’s relationship with and provision of healthy food.

Healthy food options located within 800m of home, school and work increases healthy food uptake

What do we mean by ‘healthy food’?

The built environment can support healthy eating if healthy food (both availability and accessibility) is incorporated as part of the planning and design of a community. Food availability refers to the adequacy of the food supply within a community, such as outlet density and variety.  [1, 2] Food accessibility refers to the location of food outlets (proximity)  [2] and ease of getting to the food outlet.  [1]

A built environment that supports healthy eating:

Ensures access to a range of affordable healthy food and beverages via supermarkets/fresh produce within close proximity to residences  [3, 4];

  • Creates healthy food environments around schools to encourage healthy eating behaviours;
  • Ensures healthy food is accessible through a variety of transport modes such as public, community and active transport. 
  • Makes use of existing facilities/spaces (e.g. schools) for local food production/provision of fresh produce such as through farmers’ markets.
  • Safeguarding local healthy food access and economic viability of local producers through peri-urban agriculture.

Improved transportation access and walkability to healthy food promotes healthy eating, especially for the disadvantaged

Community gardens and edible landscapes increase community interaction and promote mental, physical, and environmental benefits

Download Healthy Food infographic