Life Education Queensland’s innovative Healthy Eats pilot program trialled in north Queensland primary schools this year has been recognised for its significant social impact, with the project winning the 2019 SIMNA Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Social Impact Measurement.
The Healthy Eats team – one of 13 award finalists – received the prestigious accolade at an awards ceremony in Melbourne last month.
Run by the Social Impact Measurement Network Australia, the SIMNA Awards are open to any organisation in Australia – including not-for-profits – and recognise the leaders in Australian social impact measurement.
The judges were impressed with how the Life Education Healthy Eats program is achieving real and measurable difference in the area of health promotion and improved childhood nutrition in target schools across Cairns, Townsville and Mackay.
They commended the Healthy Eats program as a promising initiative with ‘clear engagement of stakeholders and strong collaboration throughout its development.’
One judge commented: “This project has collaboration at its core, given subject communities are involved in designing an individualised program that draws on the wider program knowledge of what works to create change.
“It will be interesting to watch how the uncovering of learnings about what has worked helps shape the continuation and expansion of the program.”
With an engaging mascot called Frankie Fresh, Healthy Eats is a new Life Education initiative designed to improve childhood nutrition, empower kids to make healthier choices and boost their daily intake of fruit and vegetables.
The program was initially delivered to 2000 students in 17 primary schools in the Far North during term two, but thanks to its success, and renewed funding from Northern Queensland Primary Health Network, Healthy Eats will be extended to 50 schools next year.
The Healthy Eats program adopts an innovative whole of community approach incorporating targeted education sessions with children, fruit and vegetable gardens, breakfast programs, healthy ‘brain food breaks’ at school, parent and teacher resources, competitions in schools and tuckshop assistance.
In addition to funding partner NQPHN, the program is also supported by the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops; Deadly Choices; Woolworths; and Bunnings, which provided a grant and equipment to build and plant school vegetable gardens.
CEO Michael Fawsitt said he was thrilled at the progress and momentum the pilot Healthy Eats program had achieved in such a short space of time.
“This award is significant and a wonderful recognition of the difference we’re making in the lives of Queensland children,” Mr Fawsitt said.
“We’re hearing about alarming obesity rates on an almost daily basis, and latest figures show that 94 per cent of Aussie kids don’t eat the recommended daily amount of two serves of fruit and five vegetables.
“Our own impact survey done after the Healthy Eats program was delivered, showed the program had made a big impression on children who participated, with more than 90 per cent of youngsters stating they would now think more carefully about the type of food they eat.
“This is a great example of what can be achieved when innovation is encouraged to flourish, and how important it is to work alongside communities in a more collaborative and cohesive approach to health promotion, to help address local challenges.”
SIMNA Chair Simon Faivel praised the standard of applications for the 2019 awards.
“This is the fifth year that we have run the SIMNA Awards. We received the largest number of applications ever this year, across all categories. This is hugely positive. Applications were received from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia.”