Your Community Health has been supporting the nutrition and health of refugees, migrants and newly arrived communities since 2007.
From 2015, we partnered with Melbourne Polytechnic to deliver our nutrition program within their English Language classes. The program aims to provide nutrition education to priority groups who are most at risk of poor nutrition and food insecurity.
We recently conducted an evaluation of the program to better understand its impact and how we can continue to improve it in the future. You can read the summary report here.
But here is a quick version!
About the program
Your Community Health delivered the program nine times from 2016 to 2019 with 129 students and their teachers. We worked with Melbourne Polytechnic teachers to develop a three-day interactive program within English Language classes for newly arrived migrants. The program focused on food literacy and nutrition, involving an interactive visit to our health centre, a supermarket tour and a cooking session.
The sessions were further supported with pre-learning activities facilitated by the Melbourne Polytechnic English language teachers using specifically designed resource guidelines.
The main objectives of the program were to:
- improve student nutrition and health literacy
- improve student knowledge and skills to make informed food choices in a supermarket
- increase students’ awareness of how to implement the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating in food preparation
The students who participated reported higher levels of food insecurity (18 per cent) compared to the local community (5.8 per cent) and Victoria (4.6 per cent).
Some of the program successes include:
- The majority of students reported an increase in confidence in cooking as a result of the program. Overall, there was increased confidence, knowledge and skills relating to planning, managing, selecting and preparing foods
- 20 per cent more students were able to correctly to identify healthier food options using nutrition information after participating in the program.
- Most students made changes to their eating or drinking habits after learning about healthier options. This included an increase in fruit, vegetable and water intake and a decrease in snacking and sugary drink consumption.
- 82 per cent said they shared their new knowledge with family and friends.
- Teachers reported increased confidence in teaching and incorporating healthy eating principles in their curriculum
We have learnt a lot during this program and evaluation process. Overall the program has had a positive impact. We are looking forward to exploring further partnership opportunities with Melbourne Polytechnic to promoting a healthy food environment and improved access to health services.