Healthy jarjums make healthy food choices is a school-based nutrition and food hygiene program that targets children from preschool through to grade three. The purpose of the resource is:
Healthy jarjums make healthy food choices was developed by the Inala Indigenous Health Program in 2001.
- to provide educators with culturally appropriate information, enjoyable activities and relevant resources that will enhance, preserve and promote awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural values, identity and customs
- to increase knowledge, awareness and skills in relation to nutrition practices
- to assist students to demonstrate the core learning outcomes of Years 1–10 Queensland Health and Physical Education Syllabus, whilst addressing the goals of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy (NATSIEP).
In 2002, Southern Public Health Unit Network (Queensland Health) evaluated the effectiveness of the program. Results showed that educators were very positive about the program and program resources, and that there were significant (p<0.05) increases in nutrition knowledge and food preferences for everyday foods.
A review of the program in 2006 showed that over half of all schools who had ordered the Healthy jarjums make healthy food choices program resources were not implementing the program. Therefore in 2007, the Gold Coast Health Service District (GCHSD) Indigenous Health Team, partnered with Southern Area Population Health Service and key members of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, to implement and evaluate the program in a selection of Gold Coast schools (Healthy jarjums make healthy food choices Gold Coast).
The Healthy jarjums make healthy food choices Gold Coast project involved consultation with stakeholders to encourage the development of relationships between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, the Indigenous Health Service and the primary schools, to routinely implement the Healthy jarjums make healthy food choices program.
Preliminary results show that five out of the six schools implemented the program and each school ran the program differently, demonstrating its versatility and flexibility. All five schools were impressed with the resources and are planning to implement the program next year.
Additional evaluations are planned to obtain feedback from the others stakeholders on the capacity and commitment towards ongoing support and partnerships with other stakeholders involved in the project.
Future plans in Southern Area Health Service are to create a framework to provide access and promote sustainable implementation of Healthy jarjums make healthy food choices program to all primary schools. This framework should include: program resource provision; program promotion; program evaluation; recommendations on how to implement the program as it was originally intended i.e. incorporating the program into the school curriculum; protocols for accessing Indigenous health services and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
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