I was pleased to attend the launch of the National Meal on Wheels Nutritional Guidelines in Parliament House today. The Australian Meals on Wheels Association has provided a friendly face at the door and a regular chat with a welcome meal to millions of people in Australia for over 60 years, and I am always happy to support the organisation and its volunteers.
Good food is not just nutrition; it’s part of the joy of life. It helps keep families, communities and generations together. Foods both new and familiar can entice flagging appetites, excite the senses and rekindle decades old happy memories. By providing good nutritious food, as well as some vital social contact, Meals on Wheels helps people who are frail, recovering from an illness or have a disability, to remain in their own homes and communities and to enjoy their independence.
Quite apart from the social benefits, Meals on Wheels saves millions of dollars in health costs every year. We know that weight loss and malnourishment result in a range of health complications leading to more visits to doctors, hospitals, rehabilitation units and sometimes premature admission into residential care. It makes sense to invest in preventative health care, and these National Meal Guidelines are part of that investment.