Abstract: Traditionally, Aboriginal people were educated within complex cultural and relational systems which ensured key health messages were passed from older to younger generations. Within this system was the knowledge gained about living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. This lifestyle included expending considerable amounts of energy to gather and hunt foods low in dietary energy, fat, salt and sugar which contributed to a healthy, lean physique. Post european settlement, the rapid shift towards an energy-dense, nutrient-poor westernised diet has been implicated in the rising rates of lifestyle-related diseases which are decimating Aboriginal populations. Worsening this situation has been the limited experiences and knowledge gained of healthier western food options and the skills necessary to cook and prepare these foods. The latter has been particularly noticeable in the younger generations where in the past these skills were traditionally learned from the elders through observation, imitation and participation. In an effort to meet this need, this project set out to achieve the goal of providing a culturally appropriate healthy cooking session for local Indigenous youth. Our main objectives were to increase the participants' knowledge, confidence and skills in preparing and cooking healthy foods on a budget. Overall, the results from this project showed immediate improvements in knowledge and confidence gained in cooking healthy meals and understanding of healthier cooking methods. Conclusions reached were that successful health education programs are those that work closely with Aboriginal communities to determine and direct their own needs. However, lone health education initiatives like ours may not be enough to change behaviours without the commitment of government resources towards education, employment, housing and infrastructure. All of which are determinants that impact on the Aboriginal person's ability to improve their health.
To cite this article: Jamieson, Shani and Heron, Bev. Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Healthy Cooking Class for Indigenous Youth [online]. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, Vol. 33, No. 4, July/Aug 2009: 6-7, 9.
[cited 05 May 16].