Health Talks

Health Talks

How you can eat well on a budget

Do you think you can eat three meals a day, including snacks, for less than the price of a McChicken Burger?

Learn how when Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) Senior Clinical Dietitian Victoria Silvestro gives a free practical and interactive talk as part of Library Health Month at Merrylands Library on Wednesday, September 20, at 2pm.  

She will also be at Max Webber Library in Blacktown on Tuesday, October 10 at 2.30pm to deliver the same talk. 

As part of her talk, ‘Healthy Eating on a Budget’, Ms Silvestro will be providing tips and tricks on how to stretch your food dollar further.

“I hope to debunk the myth that healthy eating is expensive,” Ms Silvestro said.

“The talk will be based around the cheaper options within each of the five food groups and I will discuss extra tips to reduce the shopping bill.”

At Merrylands Library, this will be followed by diabetes detection testing where residents can have a fingerpick test to check if they are in danger of developing type 2 diabetes.

Western Sydney Diabetes Senior Clinical Dietitian Victoria Silvestro, pictured with models of healthy food options, is delivering a talk called ‘Healthy Eating on a Budget’.

The 3-minute HbA1c test does not require fasting and is a quick indicator of diabetes. 

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood. The body can’t make insulin, enough insulin, or is not effectively using the insulin it does make. 

If untreated, high glucose levels can damage blood vessels and nerves, resulting in long term health complications including heart, kidney, eye and foot damage.

WSD Prevention Manager Janine Dawson said early detection is key.

“Type 2 Diabetes is a significant burden of disease in the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) catchment and up to twice as prevalent in western Sydney suburbs compared to Sydney’s northern and eastern suburbs,” Ms Dawson said. 

NSW Health estimates that diabetes rates in western Sydney are 13% in adults and have been rising for over a decade.  

“Western Sydney is home to many cultural groups,” Ms Dawson said.

“Diabetes disproportionately impacts lower socio-economic, and culturally diverse communities and is up to four times more common in those from Arabic, Asian, and Pacific Islands backgrounds, as well as those from the Aboriginal community.”

WSD is encouraging adults to go to the library, or their GP, and get a HbA1c blood test if they:

  • Have a family history of diabetes;
  • Have an inactive lifestyle;
  • Are overweight or obese;
  • Had diabetes during a pregnancy; and
  • Have a Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent, African, Asian, South Asian, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island background.

“Getting outdoors, keeping active, and eating well all contribute to the prevention of type 2 diabetes,” Ms Dawson said.

“Making changes to your lifestyle through eating well and exercise is the best way to make sure your blood glucose levels are controlled, alongside taking your appropriate medication.”

WSD was established in response to the growing threat diabetes poses to our community’s health and wellbeing.

It is led by WSLHD and Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WentWest), Diabetes Australia and Department of Planning and Environment to address the western Sydney diabetes hotspot.

WSD has developed numerous educational resources to help improve the health and wellbeing of the western Sydney community through initiatives from WSLHD.

You can find Healthy Living Options, Healthy Living Options 2020, Healthy Living Options – Affordable Food, and Healthy Recipe Book editions on the WSD website.

There are also low cost, simple, healthy recipes on the NSW Healthy Living website.

You could consider joining the Get Healthy Service which is available to all NSW residents over 16 years of age.  The service is free and health coaching is offered by university qualified Dietitians and Exercise Physiologists.

Library Health Month runs in September (1-30).

Visit Library Health Month – WSLHD ( for more information about free library events and NSW Health programs.