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10 April 2024

Grampians Health is providing a healthier choice of food and drinks for its team members and visitors.

Grampians Health alcohol and other drugs coordinator Sally Pymer said her service would love to see its community healthier, happier and able to enjoy life to its fullest.

“As much as we like our jobs, we’d prefer not to see you at the hospital,” Ms Pymer said.

“We’d also like for you to be as healthy as possible when the time comes that we need to care for you.

“It might come as a surprise to many, but diet is now overtaking smoking as the leading cause of early death and ill health. What we put in our mouths truly makes a difference to our health.

“Excess weight has been linked to an increased risk of developing 12 different cancers, including bowel and pancreatic cancers. In general, greater weight gain, particularly as adults, is associated with greater cancer risks.

“It is not just about what you weigh though but the value of the food we eat. There are so many benefits to making healthy food choices.”

What you eat can impact the quality and enjoyment of life. People who choose sugary, high fat foods, when wanting a mental, or physical boost, can find it will have the opposite effect. Some may feel a short-term boost but then look for more sugary or high fat foods soon after.

The guide for healthy eating is eat and enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups: plenty of vegetables different types and colour; fruit; grain foods mostly wholegrain; lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, legumes/beans, nuts and seeds; milk, yoghurt cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

Include small amounts of healthier fats from olive oil, avocado, oily type fish, nuts and seeds. Have foods that are less processed with added fats and sugar. Healthy eating can also reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The Grampians region has high levels of heart disease. Studies have shown a 4-10% reduction in heart disease risk for every additional serve of fruit or vegetable consumed each day. Immunity can also be boosted by eating the recommended daily amounts of vegetables.

Many would also not be aware that every drink of alcohol you consume increases your chance of developing a range of cancers. Eating grapes is a much better way to get your dose of antioxidants than drinking wine. Alcohol is also linked to increased hypertension, so drinking water would be a better option.

Ms Pymer said everyone would love to see the pressure on our overburdened health system reduced.

“Along with the general community making healthy choices, it is important staff are supported to make healthy choices too,” she said.

“This can increase productivity, improve morale, reduce stress and anxiety. Health and wellbeing in the workplace, including healthy eating, can reduce sick leave absenteeism by an average of 25.3%.

“An alarming fact is organisations that do not support health and wellbeing are four times more likely to lose employees. Employers who focus on health and wellbeing can become an employer of choice.”

Grampians Health Horsham was recently involved in a project with Deakin University, improving healthy options in the onsite ‘HeartBeet Café’. This was to align with the ‘Healthy choices: policy directive for Victorian public health services’ to help reinforce health services as places that support the health and wellbeing of their staff and visitors.

This increases the number of healthy ‘green’ options and restricts the number of unhealthy ‘red’ foods available. More information about the directive can be found at

Horsham healthier choices
Grampians Health security officer Tim Schirmer chooses
fruit salad and a bottle of water for his lunch.