Kids say ciao to un­healthy food

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES KITTO

A NEW health lit­er­acy pro­gram by Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia re­searchers is en­cour­ag­ing healthy habits in the school­yard.

HealthLit4Kids is a Tas­ma­nian Com­mu­nity Fund-sup­ported ini­tia­tive pro­mot­ing health lit­er­acy at New Nor­folk’s St Brigid’s Catholic Pri­mary and three other schools state-wide.

The pro­gram teaches kids how to make sound health de­ci­sions at home, school, and in the com­mu­nity, while em­pow­er­ing stu­dents to seek out health in­for­ma­tion.

St Brigid’s as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal An­nie Nolan said the pro­gram had changed the way stu­dents thought about eat­ing habits.

“We felt there was a real need for our kids to be learn­ing about be­ing healthy,” she said.

“The lunch boxes the kids of­ten bring to school are not al­ways par­tic­u­larly healthy, which can im­pact on their abil­ity to learn. We felt the pro­gram was a good fit within our cur­ricu­lum.”

Lead pro­gram re­searcher Rosie Nash said a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing about health lit­er­acy could lead to bet­ter health later in life.

“Re­search shows that health lit­er­acy is linked to health out­comes, so­cial eq­uity and ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment,” Ms Nash said.

“The ev­i­dence shows us that if we em­power chil­dren with the as­set of health lit­er­acy we can sig­nif­i­cantly change an in­di­vid­ual’s health for their whole life course.”

Grade 4 stu­dent Mia Berry said the pro­gram taught her about the dan­ger­ous su­gar lev­els in some of her favourite foods.

“We need to keep an eye on su­gar con­tent, be­cause things like break­fast bars show fruit ad­ver­tised on the box, but when you look at the pack­ets health ad­vice it con­tains a lot of su­gar,” she said.

Pic­ture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT: St Brigid's Catholic School stu­dents, from left, Bay­lan Wilton, 9, Brydee Gar­wood, 12, Kodi Quar­rell, 10, J'Khobi Bone, 12, Ayla Ack­er­ley, 9, Mia Berry, 9, Seth Far­row, 11, and De­clan Coomber, 11, are learn­ing about healthy eat­ing.

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