By Growcom CEO Stephen Barnard

Research has proven a varied diet with lots of high-fibre foods can help boost gut health and prevent against disease. This includes against infections like the common cold, the flu, and even COVID-19.

Despite this evidence, recent dietary surveys show just 4 percent of Australians meet the recommended daily intake of vegetables, while only 3 in 10 Aussies consume the recommended daily amount of fruit.

Fresh food, including nuts along with fruits and vegetables, are our first and best medicines but a conversation about our eating habits has been strangely absent as we navigate our way through the current pandemic.

Instead we continue to pin our hopes on science to dig us out of our public health hole, while avoiding taking any action ourselves as individuals and consumers.

There is now growing demand for a properly funded public relations campaign to convince the community of the benefits of getting vaccinated. Which is undoubtedly a good investment.

But there has been precious little done at all levels of government to promote a better balanced diet, and right now could not be a more important time.

The ABC has begun this week releasing the results of its Australia Talks National Survey – a study of 60,000 Australians — which has revealed that thirty-two per cent of Australians feel less fit and healthy than they were before the pandemic.

Toward the start of the pandemic Growcom launched our Eat Yourself to Health campaign, which sought to change eating habits by making this important link between fresh produce consumption and improved immunity.

While we did receive a small amount of valued financial support for this campaign from the Queensland Government and support in-kind from across industry, we couldn’t hope to make dint on eating habits without a much bigger investment from both state and federal governments.

If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and given the cost to the economy of controlling and treating COVID-19 including $25 billion spent by the Australian Government to date on their response, you’d think there’d have been money in the last Federal budget for a long term nationwide public health campaign promoting healthy eating and varied diets.

And yet we saw nothing.

Hopefully we get a campaign announced before we all get vaccinated.