This week sees the start of Red Dust’s Healthy Living Weeks as part of the ‘Get Active, Eat Good Tucker, Live Longer!’ campaign that is supported by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The campaign’s aims are to:
- Raise awareness of lifestyle diseases linked with diet, physical activity, smoking and substance misuse
- Raise awareness of how regular check-ups from a doctor, nurse and/or health worker can help prevent and manage illness
- Promote healthier lifestyles to help prevent chronic disease
Red Dust has commenced this program with visits to the central desert communities of Areyonga and Yuendumu. This is the first of three visits by Red Dust to these communities for the year; with the Live Longer Program also being conducted in the remote communities of D River, Nguiu and Lajamanu.
Each Healthy living Week has a specific message to focus during the visit. On this first visit all activities will be based around proper nutrition; more specifically getting the kids to make healthy food choices and what affect this will have on their bodies now and their health in the future. With the rate of diabetes for the Indigenous population three times higher than non-Indigenous Australians; as well as obesity and other nutrition related illnesses prevalent in remote communities – promoting healthy lifestyle messages could not be more relevant or more important.
During each day of the Healthy Living Week the Red Dust team will be there to help out with the regular school work of literacy and numeracy. The kids will then participate in sessions with a Nutritionist to engage them in activities to increase their knowledge about food and its affect on the body. The next part of the program involves the Red Dust team conducting music workshops whereby a song based around eating healthily will be written and recorded by the participants. By the end of the week the song will be produced into a film clip starring the kids who wrote and performed the song. The nature of the song writing process means that the message is really driven home and the children are given the chance to share their knowledge with others about nutrition and living a healthy life.
Part of both activities will include discussions about going to the local clinic and seeing a doctor or healthcare worker for regular checkups to aid in the prevention of any illness. And to reiterate those messages again Red Dust will help the students with poster design and t-shirt screen printing; all displaying positive images and healthy eating messages. Prizes will be awarded for winning poster and t-shirt designs in each community – chosen by a key community leader during the program where the entire community is invited to attend.
In addition to these activities, in order to further promote not only ‘eating good tucker’ but getting active as well, the teams will conduct sporting clinics that encourage participation, physical well being and the promotion of daily exercise to maintaining a healthy life.
After each visit keep an eye out for all the stories and photos from that week. 2012 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year for Red Dust and the kids in the communities we visit!