Health and Wellbeing
The IBIS Healthy Choice Program

The health outcomes for Indigenous Australians is well behind that of the general Australian population:

  • Statistics show that Indigenous Australians rely more on public hospitals and Community Health Services than the non-Indigenous population.
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the life expectancy at birth for Indigenous males and females is estimated to be about 18–19 years less than their all-Australian counterparts.

Clearly identifying and addressing the reasons for these health issues and reduced life expectancy is of paramount importance to the wellbeing of Australia’s Indigenous population. Issues such as lack of understanding with regards to healthy weight to height ratios and healthy eating regimes play an important role in the increased incident of diabetes and other illnesses in this sector of the Australian population. Education in these areas is therefore essential in managing and reducing this risk factor and improving the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

With Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders representing 79.8% of IBIS’ customer base, and with IBIS being the main provider of food to these people, it is reasonable to extrapolate that IBIS can play a lead role in the provision of healthy food choices as well as education and training in the preparation of healthy family meals.

IBIS takes its responsibilities in this area very seriously and has already made significant inroads into the provision of healthy food choices by installing state of the art fruit and vegetable refrigerators into all island stores. This alone has demonstrated significant increases in the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables by improving the range of fruit and vegetables available on the islands and by providing fresh, high quality products. We have also worked proactively with Queensland Health in the ‘Green is Good’ and ‘Go for 2 and 5’ campaigns.

In this light IBIS recognises that it can have a significant impact on the health outcomes in the communities it serves and has augmented its involvement in this by a program designed specifically to promote healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits throughout its customer base in the communities of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area.

The IBIS Management Team is currently working on The IBIS Healthy Choice Program which includes:

  • A pricing policy that specials only healthy food, and subsidises the provision of healthy and nutritious food so it is affordable and of the highest quality;
  • A hot bread bakery on Thursday Island, the signature loaf for which is a high fibre, low GI alternative to traditional low fibre white sliced bread;
  • The employment of a Store Nutritionist to promote healthy food choices and increased exercise in the communities; and
  • A partnership with Coca Cola promoting water and non-sugared drinks as the refreshment of choice.

Click here to download the
'IBIS Healthy Lifestyle Booklet'.
(2MB PDF file)