Health Promotion Journal of Australia
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Healthway, The West Australian Health Promotion Foundation Health Promotion Grant (No 32389)
In Australia, food sovereignty of traditional landowners has been marginalised by the globalisation of food systems and resulted in limited opportunities for children to experience familiar bush tucker foods as healthy choices, particularly in a school environment. Superhero Foods® themed teaching resources focus on the development of nutrition education materials that included traditional Aboriginal foods together with contemporary foods readily available in regional/remote communities.
Consultation with an Aboriginal expert and Aboriginal artist; local, regional/remote teachers and stakeholders informed the development of tailored resources including food cartoon characters, school lesson plans and a storybook. The latter was guided by a resource development model. Users of the resources were surveyed to ascertain the useability, alignment with the Australian Dietary Guidelines, cross-curricular learnings and cultural relevance.
Respondents across regional/remote and urban locations completed a lesson plan and food character (clipart) survey (N = 51) and storybook survey (N = 14). Respondents advised the resources were relevant, enjoyable, engaging and culturally appropriate for all students regardless of Aboriginality. The resources provided learning opportunities for all children to enhance knowledge about Aboriginal culture and bush foods. Independent evaluation has further indicated the translation of messaging into student's knowledge and learning.
Key enablers to the success of the resource included; free online access, the highly engaging nature of the resources and adaptability to be implemented across a number of Aboriginal language groups in WA. Ensuring visual representation of healthy choices was fundamental to reinforcing nutrition messaging. Superhero Foods resources are a positive and important inclusion in the health promotion toolbox for Aboriginal children.
Superhero Foods are novel nutrition education resources depicting Aboriginal foods and Aboriginal children. These food literacy resources will engage children's understanding of Aboriginal culture, improve food literacy and strengthen equitable access for regional and remote communities.
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