TAPPC Food Project HE2: A systems approach to healthy and equitable eating

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Project leader(s)

The HE2 project (June 2014-May 2016) is nested in TAPPC. What, when and how much people eat is determined by a complex system of interconnected factors. The food system – including food production and trade, processing, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, retail and procurement – affects dietary behaviours by influencing consumer food environments and thus the availability, affordability, physical accessibility and acceptability of different foods. Peoples’ dietary behaviours are also a response to the daily living conditions in which they are born, live, learn, work and age. People with less money, less education, insecure working conditions and poor living conditions are more likely to experience food insecurity, and have higher levels of dietary-related diseases.

When tackling a complex problem such as healthy eating, the tendency is to oversimplify the problem and therefore policy domains that give rise to outcomes of interest. However, the specific variables in each of these policy domains interact with each other often in a nonlinear way, with many interdependencies and both balancing and reinforcing feedback loops, and the outcomes of interest emerge from the system as a whole. Combining the food system and relevant policy domains, and aiming to understand the whole system’s behaviour will help elucidate key leverage points or places to intervene most effectively.

The ‘Systems Approach to Healthy and Equitable Eating’ project aims to identify relevant current National / State & Territory level policy actions; assess their ‘HE2 - Healthy and Equitable Eating’ rating; recommend policy actions that advance public health nutrition in an equitable way, and use a systems-based methodology to identify opportunities and barriers to improve the level of coherence between HE2 goals and cross-government departments’ policies and governance approaches.

How income inequality affects your health

17 April 2018

Not everyone has a fair go at living a long, healthy and flourishing life.

 beans in hand

Call for PhD applications on food, equity and health governance

14 August 2015

The Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet) is seeking PhD students to be part of the NHMRC-funded “HE2: A systems approach to healthy and equit

Sharon Friel

Professor Sharon Friel

Sharon joined RegNet as Professor of Health Equity in May 2014 and became Director in July 2014. She also serves as the Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the Australian National...


Eleanor Malbon

Eleanor (Ellie) holds a Combined Bachelor of Arts and Science from the ANU with first class honours in Human Ecology. Her specialisation within Human Ecology is system...


Dr Melanie Pescud

Melanie works at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as an Evaluation Advisor and is a visitor at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet).

Until recently Melanie...

 Society, safety and health cluster hero

Society, safety and health

The Society, Safety and Health cluster has four research themes:

  • Policy processes and the social determinants of health inequities
  • Governance for health equity
  • Food systems, nutrition and climate change
  • Regulation and governance of health care systems

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet