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  • Supporting people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to make healthy choices

    This suite of teaching resources provides the tools to deliver learning sessions to support people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to navigate the Australian food system, make healthy food choices and plan to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. 

    Learning English is a high priority for many people settling in Australia. At the same time, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities find the Australian food system difficult to navigate. This results in choosing foods that are high in fat and/or sugar and reducing vegetable consumption. Often, physical activity levels decline as well. These things contribute to weight gain and the development of chronic diseases over time.

    Incorporating nutrition and physical activity into English classes is a great way of addressing both language skills and health literacy needs simultaneously.

    Below is an overview of the teaching resources:

    Physical activity: Keeping active and healthy in Australia is a 1-hour session designed for people learning English. It is designed for students of Adult Migrant English Programs (AMEP) for levels 2 and 3. It includes activities and two handouts; one for students to plan for 30 minute physical activity per day and an example of a completed plan. Handouts are embedded in the PowerPoint presentation.

    Healthy eating at school is a 20-30-minute session for parents of children starting primary school. It focuses on general nutrition for children and how to pack a healthy and safe school lunchbox. This is particularly important because Australia is one of the few countries where students take their lunch to school. Food safety is an issue because most school lunchboxes aren’t refrigerated at school. High summer temperatures increase the risk of food poisoning.

    Healthy food and drinks in Australia is a 1-hour session for people learning English. It is designed for students of Adult Migrant English Programs (AMEP) from levels 2 and 3. It could be used with interpreters, for people who have lower levels of English competency. In this case, you may want to include the videos; Staying Healthy in Australia part 1 and part 2, reduce the overall session content or cut the presentation into more than one session.

    Vegetables in Australia is a 1-hour session for people learning English. Many people arriving in Australia reduce their vegetable intake because the vegetables they know taste differently and/or because traditional vegetables are not available. This session promotes vegetable intake and includes buying, preparing and cooking vegetables.

    Vitamin and mineral tablets: When should we take them? Is a 30-minute session for people learning English. Many people from emerging communities are unsure about whether to take vitamin and mineral supplements. Poor health literacy, the inability to read complex labels, plus the aggressive marketing of vitamin and mineral supplements make it difficult for people to make informed choices. The presentation’s main message is that a healthy diet generally provides the vitamins and minerals the body requires. It also offers information on when vitamins and mineral supplements are recommended, as well as the need to get doctor’s advice before taking them.

    Growing vegetables at home is a 30-minute session promoting growing vegetables for health. It highlights considerations for gardening in Australia, particularly while renting. People newly arrived in Australia, even from agricultural communities, may not be familiar with the growing climate, pest challenges or restrictions placed on renters in Australia. 

    Resource submitted by Edwin Lubari, Advanced Health Equity Officer, Metro South Health

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