NRCF GRANT: $15,000- Targeting Healthy Eating Program for disadvantaged Aboriginal families within the Lower Clarence (Maclean) communities.
How many times have we heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? There’s overwhelming evidence to suggest that it is, especially for children. Unfortunately one in four Australian children leaves home without it. US studies dating back to the 1960s(the Iowa Breakfast studies) first established the importance of breakfast and showed that hunger and lack of nutrition have adverse effects on children’s learning ability. They reported that children who skipped breakfast felt tired and irritable, had trouble concentrating on the morning’s lessons, and found complex mental tasks difficult.
Put simply, a good quality breakfast helps provide young people with the energy they need for the day, and the nutrients they need to grow and develop.
The Targeting Healthy Eating Program helped address the nutritional needs of disadvantaged Aboriginal families within the Lower Clarence (Maclean) communities. by subsidising the costs of fruit and vegetables.
Noeline Kapeen, CEO of the Yaegl Local Aboriginal Land Council oversees the program.
“We work with the local homework centre to identify families that are in dire straits and need our help. We work with 8 families currently and it’s not just about the provision of food and veggies, but about informing and working with families to help them understand the importance of a healthy diet. We have a single father we work with who has five boys. These boys now have access to fruit and veg and as a result are doing very well, they are very sporty and respectful and now play a very active role in our community. We also work with a young single mother. Her child has diabetes and he has just lost his grandmother. As the mother worked,the grandmother played a vital role in the family, making sure the boy ate properly, preparing his lunches etc. With her gone, there was a gap. We helped fill that gap.Other families include a boy looking after his elderly mother, a sister looking after her brother who has mental issues and a single mother with health issues.All these children are now better at school and better at sport as a result of this program.”
What’s the recipe for success?
“Education is the key to the success of this program. We hope that when this program finishes int hree months that the families continue having fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet.