Kura Kai Ora is co-designing with children to develop nutrition messages responsive to Māori and Pacific worldviews
One of Counties Manukau Health’s most serious public health challenges is obesity in childhood. Almost 40% of kids between four and 12 years of age who are overweight and obese in New Zealand live in the Counties Manukau area; 47% of them are Māori and 56% are Pacific.
“Obesity affects the health, educational outcomes and quality of life of our children. If we don’t take action early, they are more likely to stay obese as adults and to develop diabetes, heart disease and cancer,” says Mana Taurite programme manager Tracey Popham.
The Mana Taurite – Equity in Health campaign is working closely with health professionals and our community across a range of interventions to improve the wellbeing of Māori and Pacific children in Otara by focussing on healthy weight so that they can live longer, healthier lives.
Healthy weight, healthy kids – Currently five project groups – Healthy Mums and Babies 4 Life, Kidz First ED Screening, Kura Kai Ora, Prepare Together and Weigh While We Wait – are testing and implementing interventions in our communities to improve:
- the number of women with a healthy weight gain in pregnancy
- children’s physical activity
- children’s healthy eating
The Healthy Mums and Babies 4 Life project team is testing ways of educating pregnant women about weight gain so that it becomes easier for them to make healthier food and lifestyle choices. “We want women to have access to tailored information that makes sense to them. Better information will lead to better choices,” says community health worker Mele Fakaosilea.
“We have received very positive feedback. Most women are making changes in their lifestyle. One mum, who drank one litre of fizzy drink daily, only drinks them occasionally now,” celebrates Mrs Fakaosilea. “It is also great to see that they are starting to fight back myths that still persist, such as ‘eat whatever you want’ and ‘eat for two’.”
Similarly, Kura Kai Ora is co-designing meaningful nutrition messages with children; messages that are responsive to Māori and Pacific worldviews. “Māori children connect with food differently. It is not only about fuelling the body. They think about the big picture, how it is connected with whenua (land), the gods and different parts of the environment. The messages are empowering, positive, interconnected, prescriptive,” says project lead Alicia Berghan.
Prepare Together is building a pathway for 150 women with diabetes to receive advice and education to help them prepare for pregnancy. “We want to reduce the risk of perinatal complications to improve outcomes for mums and babies,” says project lead Lesley Maclennan.
Mana Taurite – Equity in Health campaign
Aligned with CM Health’s strategic plan, the purpose of Mana Taurite – Equity in Health is to innovate and identify what works to reduce health inequities for the community of Counties Manukau by December 2020 by:
- reducing the disparity for childhood obesity or healthy weight for children from Māori and Pacific communities in Otara – Counties Manukau (Healthy Kids workstream);
- reducing the disparity for identified health outcomes for Māori and Pacific patients and whānau in participating services in Counties Manukau (Healthy Services workstream);
- increasing the number of Māori and Pacific staff across our workforce and potential workforce to reflect the Counties Manukau community (Healthy Systems workstream).
Go to the Mana Taurite – Equity in Health webpage to find out more about the campaign.