Gone are the days of promoting healthy eating for weight loss – it’s about making healthy lifestyle choices that supports strong physical, mental and wellbeing.
This is a concept the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be promoting for Veterans Health Week this year.
Veterans’ Health Week, celebrated from October 1 to October 9 in 2022, is a week dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for veterans and their families.
This year’s theme is Eat Well and places an emphasis on the importance of maintaining good nutrition, not just for a person’s physical health, but for their wholistic wellbeing.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Dietetic Advisor Tara Diversi said there was evidence to suggest that veterans generally have a poorer nutritional intake than the general civilian population for a variety of reasons, such as an increase in physical and mental illness.
Veterans’ Health Week aims to change the narrative around healthy living for veterans and their families.
“The goal of Veterans’ Health Week is to help veterans and families improve their physical, mental, and social health, which overall improves their quality of life,” Tara said.
“Generally, the feedback is that they (veterans) are interested in how they can pass on healthy habits to their families, their children and their grandchildren.”
Every year for Veterans’ Health Week, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs partners up with ex-service organisations and the veteran community to host events aimed around educating the community on the benefits of good nutrition.
This year’s activities involve planting an edible garden, and cooking classes.
While the 2022 theme focuses on eating well, past themes for Veterans’ Health Week have emphasised exercise, social connection, and mental health.
The importance of having a dedicated week for veterans to learn about their health and learn healthy eating habits cannot be understated, according to Tara.
“Having weeks like Veterans’ Health Week really highlights to veterans, to the community and to ex-service organisations that DVA does take health seriously,” she said.
“It looks at health promotion activities to ensure people can get information that is beneficial, evidence-based and allows us to promote overall health rather than specific things we don’t do.
“Eating well is not just about managing weight, it’s about managing health, and you can be healthy regardless of your size.”
In recognition of Veterans Health Week, Victorian veterans and war widows will have access to free public transport between October 1 and October 9.
Keep up with the RSL Victoria social channels for more on Veterans’ Health Week, from events to fun facts about the theme ‘Eat Well’.
To see the events happening in your area, visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.