Life Education Queensland CEO Michael Fawsitt chats with presenter Kier Shorey from ABC Far North about the award-winning Healthy Eats program.
Four schools from far north Queensland recently received the gold-standard accreditation from the program. Listen below to find out more.
On your radio online and on your mobile. This is ABC Far North.
Kier Shorey (00:07):
We are going to talk about healthy eating where four North Queensland schools have reached a nutrition milestone. It’s part of Life Education Queensland’s award-winning Healthy Eats program. The CEO is Michael Fawsitt, he’s with us right now. So please Michael, explain what the program is designed to do.
Michael Fawsitt (00:26):
Good morning, well, Healthy Eats is really a ground-breaking program. It’s been in operation now for over three years. It was initially funded by the North Queensland Primary Health Network. And over these last three years, 37 schools in North Queensland have participated in the program and it’s about more than delivering health education. It’s really about changing the culture in the school, so the children are more able, more likely and have greater access to eating vegetables and fruit and a more nutritious diet.
Kier Shorey (00:58):
And how do you do that, Michael? What, like, how does the program work?
Michael Fawsitt (01:02):
Well, we have a range of initiatives after three years of trialling this we’ve now come up with what is essentially a gold standard. So it’s, if schools implement 10 key initiatives, that makes them a Healthy Eats accredited school and a really strong, healthy eating culture. So everything from a smart choice compliant tuck shop, which means that the tuck shop is providing the majority of items being healthy for kids. And we’ve got schools like Mossman where more than 90% of the menu in their tuck shop is now healthy. And that’s fantastic for, for kids. We’ve got nutrition sessions that we’re delivering in schools. We’ve got every school that’s accredited now in Healthy Eats has a fully functioning vegetable garden.
Kier Shorey (01:51):
So a garden within the actual school itself, Michael.
Michael Fawsitt (01:54):
Absolutely. So kids can see where food’s coming from and they can be part of growing it, which is terrific. Brain breaks during class, so that kids take a short break and have a healthy snack to help keep them going during the day and get them into those healthy habits.
Kier Shorey (02:11):
So, having it exist right, is one part of it, Michael Fawsitt is with us from Life Education. How do you change their mindset to want to eat it? That must be a part of the program too.
Michael Fawsitt (02:24):
Absolutely. And that’s, through the nutrition sessions that we provide to children and also we’re practically seeing it in schools are reporting back that children are bringing healthier lunchboxes to school.
Kier Shorey (02:39):
So the program is having effect on what the parents are doing at home Michael.
Michael Fawsitt (02:42):
Absolutely. So, one of the 10 key initiatives is for the school to work proactively with parents and engage parents and we provide a whole wealth of resources that go home to parents to help them participate in the program and help to inform parents. Because we know that two in three adults are either overweight or obese and we know one in four children are. And so this is a program that’s about engaging, not only the school community, but the whole community as well.
Kier Shorey (03:14):
And, are there schools out there that haven’t kind of linked into this program yet? And how can they do so, there might be a teacher or two listening at this point in time, Michael.
Michael Fawsitt (03:24):
Yeah, absolutely. So if, if schools are interested in getting involved it is a wonderful program, go to the Life Education Queensland website, lifeeducationqld.org.au. They’ll find all the information on Healthy Eats on there, and we’d be very happy to work with them.
Kier Shorey (03:40):
Beautiful work, Michael, thank you so much for your time.
Michael Fawsitt (03:42):
Kier Shorey (03:43):
Life Education Queensland CEO, Michael Fawsitt there talking about the program that’s running out through a whole bunch of schools, including four North Queensland schools. It’s reached this milestone as part of the award-winning Healthy Eats program. And if you’re a parent, particularly at a primary school, but also at a high school, you know, it’s worthwhile looking into what the school’s doing when it comes to what’s provided for children within the canteen. You’ll find that there’s been a lot of strictures created recently to try and create a healthy school food environment.