Tackling table sugar – World Diabetes Day

Tackling table sugar – World Diabetes Day

Outback Stores is hosting four Nutrition and Dietetic students from Monash University who have been working on a project for the past 8 weeks to develop key potential recommendations to reduce the consumption of table sugar in remote communities.

Each year Outback Stores’ nutrition policy contributes to a reduction in the sale of sugary drinks in communities, as well as increased sales of fresh fruit and vegetables. However table sugar remains one of the key contributors to sugar consumption in remote communities.

Ciara, Jasmine, Maryam and Adelaide started their research scoping the available literature and from there gathered information by conducting face to face interviews in community and investigating company sales data.

They visited remote communities to meet community members, discuss table sugar usage and run nutrition education sessions with the local schools.

They identified that the most common usage of table sugar in communities is with tea, coffee and cereal, and are working on suggested alternatives as part of their project.

The students from Monash University hope that the recommendations from their project may reduce sugar intake in remote communities, which is the primary cause of type 2 diabetes.

Shkarra and Matt

Top: Preparing healthy snack alternatives
Bottom: Information sessions for local schools

1 in 10 adults worldwide have diabetes. Over 90% have type 2 diabetes. Close to half are not yet diagnosed.

– WorldDiabetesDay.org

November 14 is World Diabetes Day, a global occasion on which people with diabetes, health professionals, diabetes advocates, media, the general public and government organisations unite to raise awareness of diabetes.

Every year, the World Diabetes Day campaign focuses on a dedicated theme that runs for one or more years. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is Access to Diabetes Care.

The slogan for the 2023 campaign is: Know your risk, Know your response

Type 2 diabetes accounts for over 90% of all diabetes. Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes involves a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial as overweight and obesity increases the risk. Even a small weight loss can make a big difference. Regular screenings and check-ups, especially for people with one or more of the risk factors, can detect early signs and help individuals make the necessary changes to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

For the latest news from the peak national medical and scientific body in Australia for diabetes, visit https://www.diabetessociety.com.au/

Ashley and Karen in Car Photo

Bottom: Monash students visiting remote communities in Central Arnhem Land

Kalumburu: before and after

Kalumburu: before and after

Uraro Store in Kalumburu (WA) has got a new look! With new shelving, new fridges and an improved layout, the store now has an increased range of fresh food, pantry items and frozen food.

Clement Maralpabj is the chairperson of Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation (KAC) and says that the local residents are very happy with the improvements.

“We’ve got more space to do our shopping and there’s more food too.” He adds that the increased range of children’s toys and clothing has also been popular.

Outback Stores has been working in Kalumburu since 2014, when the KAC invited Outback Stores to assist them in lifting store standards and management practices. The recent refurbishments were paid by store profits, which remain with the community for distribution by agreement of the store’s local board of directors.

Shkarra and Matt

Top: Uraro Store after the refurbishments
Bottom: Clement Maralpabj, store director

Everyone is happy with the changes. There’s more food for sale and more toys for the kids. 

– Clement Maralpabi

Kalumburu is the most northerly settlement in Western Australia and is home to around 400 residents, from the Wunambal and Kwini language groups.

Uraro Store is one of the most isolated in Australia. It receives deliveries via a weekly barge from Darwin that takes two days to traverse the Timor Sea and down the King Edward River.  The next closest store is in the town of Kununurra, accessed via a dirt road that is impassable during the wet season.

The Kimberley region of Western Australia saw a one in a hundred year flood in January 2023, when ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie hit northern Australia. The delivery road from the barge to Uraro Store was washed away, leaving the community reliant on helicopter food drops for several months.

Ashley and Karen in Car Photo

Top: Barge deliveries
Bottom: Pallets slung by helicopter from barge to store

Welcome to Monash University students

Welcome to Monash University students

Outback Stores are currently hosting four Nutrition and Dietetic students from Monash University – Adelaide, Maryam, Jasmine and Ciara. They will be with us for ten weeks until the 17th of November.

Year after year Outback Stores continues to support positive health outcomes for remote communities. Although full-sugar soft drink sales have reduced over the years due to nutrition strategies, dry table sugar remains the highest contributor to sugar sales.

With this in mind, the student project will explore barriers, limitations and enablers for reducing the consumption of table sugar within remote Indigenous communities and develop key recommendations to combat table sugar sales within Outback Stores managed locations. In addition to this, the students will learn the importance of developing cultural safety outlines and the significance of developing key stakeholder relationships.

A new part of their placement is mapping the food supply within the context of this organisation, involving meetings with key stakeholders and suppliers.

We look forward to supporting the students’ journey throughout their placement!

Shkarra and Matt

Top: Fruit and vegetables at Nauiyu Store, Daly River
Bottom: Visiting Independent Grocers Australia

Aputula Store: before and after

Aputula Store: before and after

The Aputula Store in Finke (NT) has been completely refurbished, with both locals and visitors impressed with the results.

“The community is so excited and happy about how the shop looks. When family members visit from other communities they say ‘Wow, what happened here?’ And then they tell their store managers back in their own community how good it looks,” says Charmaine Stuart, chairperson of the Aputula Aboriginal Corporation (AAC).

Thanks to grant funding from the National Indigenous Australians Agency, Aputula Store has doubled its floor space and has new ceilings, floors and all new fixtures – including chiller and fridge storage, hot and cold takeaway options, and fruit and veg displays. There are over 400 new items now available for sale, spanning all categories.

“There’s more food on the shelves, and more space to do shopping. It’s an exciting thing for the community. They are proud of the corporation working together with Outback Stores and they feel well looked after,” says Charmaine.

Shkarra and Matt

Top: Aputula Store after the refurbishments
Bottom: Charmaine Stuart, chairperson of Aputula Aboriginal Corporation

There’s more food on the shelves, and more space to do shopping. It’s an exciting thing for the community.

– Charmaine Stuart

The AAC engaged Outback Stores to work alongside them in February 2021, and Charmaine says that since then she has learned a lot about governance and can see the community learning about making healthier choices. The local store directors recently made changes to the package reduction of full-sugar soft drinks and are looking at implementing other sugar-reduction strategies.

Charmaine says that the local staff are happy with their shifts and enjoy the training opportunities offered by Outback Stores.

“They enjoy going to work and are doing it from the heart. I see them improving what they are capable of – doing it for our store and community,” Charmaine says.

Charmaine has worked several jobs in the community, such as for Catholic Care and Centrelink, but says she really enjoys her role as chairperson of the AAC and is looking forward to contributing more as a leader and traditional owner for the community. “It’s a big role and big responsibility, looking after everyone in the community.”

Charmaine says the community can’t wait to show off their new store to the visitors of next year’s Finke Desert Race. Aputula is also the setting for one of the Northern Territory’s biggest annual sporting events. With the race attracting 600 competitors from around the country, there are many visitors who will appreciate the increased range of products.

“Everybody will be really shocked to see the new store when they come to the Finke race next year,” says Charmaine.

Ashley and Karen in Car Photo

Aputula Store, before and after the refurbishment