Nutrition Education for Youth
Addressing a gap in programs for 12-18 year olds
Research shows that only 4% of youth aged 12 to 17 meet the recommended numbers of serves of fruit and vegetables.1 They’re also often less likely to eat nutrient-dense foods and drinks and eat wholesome breakfasts. Our food literacy for youth program is working to change this.
We have been working in the Pilbara delivering nutrition education programs to schools for over 10 years. But we identified a gap in programs for 12-18 year old youth.
With funding from BHP, we launched Fuel Your Future in 2016 for youth who go to high schools and youth centres in the Pilbara region to gradually build up their healthy eating knowledge and skills. Our current youth education program uses latest nutrition research and is delivered by university-qualified public health nutritionists.
Our participants have shown improvements in their knowledge of the five food groups and their nutrients, the Australian Dietary Guideline serve sizes, food safety and storage, knife and cooking skills, and how to read and follow a recipe. This knowledge and skills will help them for the rest of their lives.
Kalyisah Farid, our program facilitator says, “It’s startling that young people aren’t getting enough attention in the nutrition space, and so it’s important that food literacy programs for youth like ours exist because we are able to meet that gap.”
Adolescence is the bridge between childhood and adulthood. Creating a supportive and safe environment for young people to learn about healthy eating knowledge and cooking skills is important to healthy growth and development – physically, emotionally, or socially. Not only that, it also helps young people feel confident that they are able to make informed food choices and stay healthy.”
And our participants love it. Our community partners value how engaging it is, with saying “The educational side was incredibly valuable for the students. Being able to relate the practical side of cooking with the nutritional benefits has definitely increased their understanding of healthy eating.
Maybe it will influence them to choose some healthier options with their meal choices in the future.”
Our food literacy for youth program works with youth services within a flexible program where nutrition activities are hands-on, and cooking skills are developed and put into practice.
Finishing with a yummy plate of food is always a highlight for young people.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). National Healthy Survey: First Results, 2017-18, Table 17: Children’s consumption of fruit, vegetables, and selected sugar sweetened and diet drinks – Australia [data set]. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/national-health-survey-first-results/2017-18