Optimal Infant Nutrition for Cape York Mums Project

 In News

Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Starts Before Pregnancy

Apunipima Cape York Health Council announces a new project to address the health inequality of Indigenous mothers and babies in Cape York.

Families in remote Cape York communities will benefit from a new project being undertaken by Apunipima Cape York Health Council to improve nutrition before, during and after pregnancy.

Apunipima has been awarded funding from Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) to deliver the Optimal Infant Nutrition for Cape York Mums Project.

The project will build upon Apunipima’s award-winning Baby One Program and further develop a suite of tools, workshops and activities around nutrition for mothers and infants to improve long-term health and wellness outcomes.

Population Health and Research Team Leader Melinda Hammond said it is well known that underlying poor nutrition is a major contributing factor to the higher burden of disease experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared with other Australians.

“We know that improving health and life expectancy starts early in life. The healthier a pregnancy is, the healthier the child will be and the better they will learn and grow.” Said Ms Hammond.

NQPHN Chief Executive Officer John Gregg said improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health by closing the gap is a priority area of NQPHN.

“This partnership with Apunipima will assist in education for families that may otherwise be out of reach for many within Cape York communities.

“We are proud to be a part of this program, as we continuously work towards helping northern Queenslanders to live happier, healthier, and longer lives.”

Aboriginal women have an increased risk of having low birthweight babies and complications of anaemia, poor nutrition and there are high rates of smoking and chronic disease during pregnancy. This increasing risk of adverse health outcomes for the mother and baby. Poor nutrition before, during and after pregnancy and during the first few years of life can result in chronic disease later in life. Preventing this starts with healthy mothers, babies and children.

The project will be run over the next two years and will initially focus on two Cape York communities. Apunipima will be working in partnership with researchers at James Cook University, Monash University and Menzies School of Health Research to ensure robust evaluation of all the project activities is shared widely.