Department of Health

Healthy eating programs and services

The Victorian Government supports the delivery of programs and services that assist Victorians to eat well. These programs and services complement the Government’s food and drink policies and guidelines. 

They are delivered in a variety of settings and target a diverse range of audiences across their lifespans. 

INFANT

INFANT (INfant Feeding Active play and NuTrition) is a group-based program. It is designed to help parents and families with healthy eating and active play from the start of their baby’s life.

INFANT consists of four face-to-face group sessions for parents/caregivers with learnings supported via the My Baby Now mobile app. 
Sessions are delivered by professionals such as Maternal and Child Health (MCH) nurses, dietitians, health promotion officers and/or parent support workers.

We are providing funding to the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University to enhance implementation of INFANT across Victoria in 2021. This includes free training, practical implementation support and seed funding for organisations implementing INFANT. 

For more information and to register for free training visit the INFANT program website

HEALing Matters

The Healthy Eating, Active Living Matters (HEALing Matters) program provides out-of-home carers with information and practical resources to help young people living in care. It helps young people make positive choices and behaviour changes about their health and wellbeing.

Funded by the Victorian Government, the program was developed by health and psychology researchers at the Health and social care unit at Monash University.

HEALing Matters uses a trauma-informed philosophy. This guides carers’ understanding of the link between healthy lifestyle behaviours of young people, and improvement in their physical, cognitive, interpersonal and emotional outcomes.

For more information visit the HEALing matters website

Life! program

Life! is a free healthy lifestyle program that helps Victorians improve their eating habits, increase physical activity and manage stress. Run by experienced health professionals, the program offers group courses or a telephone health coaching service.

The program supports participants with:

  • making small lifestyle changes to achieve their health goals
  • reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Life! is funded by the Victorian Government and coordinated by Diabetes Victoria.

VACCHO 

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) is the peak body for Aboriginal health and wellbeing in Victoria, with 32 Member Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCOs).

VACCHO’s Nutrition team works collaboratively with Member ACCOs and key stakeholders to improve food security and nutrition outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Victoria. 

VACCHO also helps to build the evidence base through research, and advocates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the state.

VACCHO’s work and relationship with the Victorian Government is based on a commitment to Aboriginal self-determination. It has a community-led approach to the design, delivery and evaluation of policy, programs and services.

For more information visit the VACCHO website

The Achievement Program

The Achievement Program is a free health and wellbeing service. It helps early childhood services, schools and workplaces to create healthier environments for participants, whether they are working and learning.

It does this by working with health promotion organisations across Victoria to support members in their local area. The team of trained professionals can then offer advice and support to members as they need it.

The program is aligned to the World Health Organisation's model for health-promoting schools and healthy workplaces. It focuses on key health and wellbeing areas that include:

  • healthy eating 
  • physical activity 
  • mental health and wellbeing.

By joining the program, members can join a community of over 1,000 Victorian workplaces, 700 schools and 1,300 early childhood services that have already signed up. 

The program is funded by the Victorian Government and delivered by Cancer Council Victoria. It has worked with the Victorian community since 2012.

For more information visit the Achievement Program website

The Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS)

HEAS provides free support to early childhood services, outside school hours care, schools and universities, workplaces, hospitals, and sport and recreation centres.

It helps them by providing advice about healthier foods and drinks in their menus, catering, food outlets and vending.

It provides training and support for cooks, chefs, food service and other key staff in:

  • modifying menus, product assessments, guidance on healthy vending, and development of internal healthy food policies
  • applying the Victorian government’s Healthy choices policies and guidelines
  • accessing healthier recipes, food ideas and other helpful resources.

It also provides support to food caterers, suppliers, and the food industry.

HEAS is delivered by a team of experienced nutritionists and dietitians at Nutrition Australia (Vic Division), with support from the Victorian Government.

For more information and to access support visit the HEAS website

Vic Kids Eat Well

Vic Kids Eat Well is a new state-wide movement focused on transforming the food and drink environments where children spend their time. This includes schools, outside school hours care, sports clubs, community facilities and even the local pool.

Vic Kids Eat Well focuses on four key actions: 

  • Refresh the fridge: give sugary drinks the boot and let water take the spotlight.
  • Switch up the snacks: ditch the sweets and offer delicious healthy snacks that give kids the fuel they need.
  • Change up the menu: give fruit and veggies a chance to shine.
  • Put the ‘fun’ into fundraising and marketing: health appeal in meal deals or healthy fundraising.

The initiative provides clear, simple and achievable steps to help settings offer healthier food and drinks on their menu, in their canteen, vending machines or anywhere else food is provided.

Vic Kids Eat Well is supported by the Victorian Government. It is delivered by Cancer Council Victoria’s Achievement Program in partnership with Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Eating Advisory Service.

By getting involved in the Vic Kids Eat Well, organisations will be supported to meet Victorian food and drink policies and guidelines. They will also be provided with guidance to achieve Victorian Government recognition as part of the Achievement Program’s healthy eating benchmark.

For more information and to get involved visit the Vic Kids Eat Well website

VicHealth food and healthy eating initiatives

The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) is funded by the Victorian Government to deliver healthy eating initiatives for Victorians as a key priority. 

VicHealth’s current and past healthy eating and food system initiatives are outlined below.

Future Healthy Food Hubs

VicHealth is supporting communities to build local and resilient food systems through seven place-based, collective impact models in regional Victoria and growth corridor areas of Melbourne. 

These hubs will improve access to healthy, culturally appropriate and fresh food for communities in these areas, while providing spaces for people to grow, cook and share food. 

For more information visit the Future Healthy website 

VicHealth Local Government Partnership

The VicHealth Local Government Partnership supports councils to connect and engage with children and young people to create healthy communities across council strategies, services and spaces. 

Council staff and partners are supported to use holistic thinking focusing on systems change and create communities where children and young people grow up active, socially connected and healthy. 

Building better food systems for healthier communities

The VicHealth Local Government Partnership includes a suite of health promotion modules available to all Victorian councils. The modules provide policy and practice implementation guidance for councils to work with and for children and young people.

Within this suite, the Building better food systems for healthier communities module - provides a framework for council to implement many of the healthy eating programs and services outlined on this page.

The module outlines areas for council impact across the food system including: 

  • creating thriving local food systems
  • embedding healthy food and drink in council spaces and services
  • using healthy rewards and sponsorships in community activities
  • enabling healthy partnerships.

Implementation action how-to guides are provided to suit councils with different capacities to move to the next stage with their food system work. 

For more information on the VicHealth Local Government Partnership, including access to the health-promotion modules, visit the VicHealth Local Government Partnership website visit the Local government partnership page on their website.

Reviewed 03 January 2023

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Prevention and Population Health Branch Department of Health

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