‘Go for your life’ strategic plan 2006-2010 aims to promote healthy lifestyles, encourage physical activity and healthy eating, and prevent chronic diseases, Physical inactivity and poor nutrition are lifestyle factors that can cause obesity which can lead to chronic diseases which lead to an increase burden on the community. “Around the world, obesity has reached epidemic proportions, with more than one billion adults overweight and around 300 million of those adults clinically obese” (go for your life, 2006) ‘Go for your life’ is tackling the increasing rate of illness, obesity and chronic diseases by educating Victorians on the benefits of good nutrition and physical activity. This is done by creating a framework for action that includes activities for all people, from different stages of life; children, young people and their families, adults, seniors and members of high risk groups.
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Children in the early years aged 0 to 5 and their families need to establish healthy eating and physical activity behaviors in the early years of a child’s life. As it is a very important step for preventing future nutrition and exercise related problems. As most eating and activity occurs with the family, it is crucial for parents to be able to provide for their children’s needs with an emphasis on health and wellbeing, beginning with breastfeeding. Early childhood settings offer significant potential to improve the physical activity and healthy eating of young children in their care.
Maternal and child health workers can provide information to parents/carers to assist them with activities they can do with their children to promote health and wellbeing. Early childhood staff like child care workers, school and preschool teachers need to have the knowledge, confidence and skills to promote culturally and age-appropriate healthy eating and physical activity to children while in their care and, where possible, to their parents/carers to further promote a healthy lifestyle.
Young people aged 5 to 18 and their families have a better understanding of physical activity and good eating habits of school-aged young people. Young Victorians aged five to 18 years spend a considerable amount of their time in education, sport and recreational and primary care settings, teachers and family need to model culturally and age appropriate healthy eating and physical activity habits to young people.
Adults – as parents, workers and members of
Communities are urged to improve the eating and activity behavior of other adults by promoting active healthy lifestyles.
Senior Victorians can protect themselves against a range of diseases, including some chronic diseases, by sustaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a range of physical activities and good nutrition. While recognising that Senior Victorians may have widely different lifestyles and experiences, older people can gain greater knowledge, confidence and skills in healthy eating and active living. Aged care workers and those that work/care for the elderly need to ensure that they have the knowledge and confidence to keep the elderly active and have a healthy diet.
Certain groups in the community have a greater burden of disease and experience higher rates of poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, overweight and obesity and associated chronic diseases. These groups include people with a low socio-economic status, Indigenous Victorians, men, people who have a disability, people from different cultures who have English as their second language. People who fall in these groups need to be better educated to gain the skills to change their behavior in order to lead a healthy and active lifestyle and decrease their prevalence of developing a chronic disease in the long run.
‘Go for your life’ covers many areas under two main headings Healthy Eating and Active Living. Healthy eating comprises of: dietary advice, food and nutrients, nutrition and illness, what is a healthy weight? body image, weight management, food safety and healthy recipes. Active Living includes: activity – general information, walking, active recreation, sports and activities, active transport, activity and illness, active living tips, places to go/things to do. These sub headings provide advice on how people can be active and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Some initiatives developed as part of ‘Go for your life’ include:
‘Go for your life’ Canteens Advisory Service
The ‘Go for your life’ Canteens Advisory Service aims to support schools with primary school-age children to provide and promote healthy food choices.
Increase the awareness and skills of canteen staff regarding the provision of healthy food services.
Improve the participation from school councils and parents and friends associations to endorse and support healthy food choices in their schools and communities.
Increase the accessibility of healthy foods offered in school food services.
Link with and complement the Kids – ‘Go for your life’ service and other relevant components of the Healthy & Active Victoria Strategy.
Get Active Challenge
The Get Active Challenge was a 10-week program targeting men’s health and physical activity levels, based in Victorian workplaces. The program challenged men to boost their physical activity levels; whether on their own, in a group, with friends or with their family.
Why should men get active?
Men are drastically more likely than women to be overweight or obese.
Men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Men have an increased estimated incidence of coronary heart disease twice that of females.
Men are less likely than women to self-report their health status as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
Regular physical activity is associated with the decline in the incidence of many serious illnesses such as cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.
The Active Connections Program aims to address barriers to participation in physical activity in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Three pilot projects are being undertaken over 2 years.
Netball Victoria are working with local sport and recreation clubs, associations and facilities in Dandenong and Warrnambool to provide cultural awareness training, run the Net Set Go! junior netball program and a series of ‘come and try’ days. The target groups for the project are young African refugees and their families and the project has seen the establishment of Sudanese netball teams participating in local competitions.
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Royal Victorian Bowls Association – an 8-10 week introductory program to lawn bowls with 20-40 English language students of various nationalities attending each program from Adult Migrant Education Services (AMES) campuses in Footscray, Werribee, Noble Park and Dandenong. The program will provide an introduction to Australian sport and culture (including the role of clubs in delivering sport) through both practical and theoretical education. This model will be demonstrated to the 500+ lawn bowls clubs in Victoria and supported by the development of educational and promotional materials to attract CALD people to engage in lawn bowls.
Centre for Multicultural Youth Issues (CMY) – based in Ballarat, the CHAMP project intend to address barriers and increase participation rates and social inclusion for newly arrived communities in the Central Highlands Region, with a special focus on refugee youth and their families. CMY are working with local sport and recreation clubs, associations and facilities providing cultural awareness training and assistance with strategies and policies. CMY will also facilitate activities to bring sports organisations and newly arrived refugee and migrant communities together.
The Active Places program aims to promote the benefits of leading a healthy and active lifestyle. The ‘Go for your life’ Active Places program seeks to offer increased opportunities, awareness and capability for physical activity among marginalised and socially disadvantaged communities. The program will maintain community and organisational capacity building through community-based projects within Community Renewal, Neighbourhood Renewal or Community Building Initiative sites.
‘Go for your life’ Ride2School Program
The ‘Go for your life’ Ride2School Program aims to increase the number of children riding to and from school and targets primary and secondary schools across the State. In 2006 the proportion of students who walked or rode was closer to only 20 per cent. As a result, the Government is funding a plan to get children and teenagers riding and walking more often under the ‘Go for your life’ initiative. A key part of the plan is to expand Bicycle Victoria’s Ride2School Program to more primary and secondary schools across the state. Ride2School works with schools to help them extend their own Ride2School activities and support to encourage more students to ride and walk more often. Ride2School also coordinates ‘activity challenges’ across the state to encourage students to cycle and walk more often
‘Go for your life’ Walk Together Grants
The ‘Go for your life’ Walk Together Grants was a one-off funding program that was developed to establish and uphold sustainable walking groups in Victoria. Partnerships for projects aiming disadvantaged communities and other groups with low physical activity.
Healthy and Active Choices
The Healthy and Active Choices pilot project aims to emphasize the messages of healthy eating, physical activity and healthy lifestyle by making possible the provision and uptake of healthy food choices at regional sports facilities.
Integration of walking and cycling
Sport and Recreation Victoria are collaborating with government departments and agencies as well as non-government organisation and peak bodies to expand an integrated approach to walking and cycling across Victoria. The project has identified the need for a longer term vision for investment in walking and cycling and a strategy is currently being developed.
It’s Your Move
The project promotes teenagers to take ownership, control and suggest the best ways forward to address healthy eating, healthy bodies and physical activity. The teenagers are working in collaboration with a variety of levels with government and the local community to look at and create new view to make healthier choices easier choices. The teenagers will keep a record of their eating and physical activity habits around the clock for the project, part of the Victorian Government’s ‘Go for your life’ strategy. (‘go for your life’ 2010)
The whole-of-community project aims to:
Decrease intake of sugary drinks and promote water consumption.
Increase the proportion of young people eating breakfast.
Increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
Increase the healthiness of school food.
Increase active transport to and from school.
Increase partaking in organised sports and other active recreation.
Create an acceptance of different healthy body sizes/shapes.
The Government recognises that the entire community needs to be engaged in addressing this issue. That’s why ‘Go for your life’ is working mutually with community groups, industry, organisations, schools, business and research institutions. Raising awareness about the significance of healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weight is a key element of ‘Go for your life’. The ‘Go for your life’ communications activities provide Victorians with knowledge about the significance of healthy eating and physical activity, to support people to make positive lifestyle changes. Through ‘Go for your life’, the Government has made a significant investment in encouraging healthy eating and physical activity and endorsing healthy weight. From kitchen gardens in schools to supporting a healthy body image in teenagers, from diabetes prevention programs to programs designed to keep seniors healthy and active, ‘Go for your life’ is engaging people and communities across Victoria in the challenge of taking on healthier lifestyles and avert chronic diseases.
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