Healthy Mind, Healthy Body – Manymuk Rumbal, Manymuk Liya
A major focus of the Marrma’ Rom Two Worlds Foundation is health education and teaching the lads about healthy life choices. Aboriginal Australians, particularly those living in remote communities, have a significantly lower life expectancy than Non-Aboriginal Australians. The Marrma’ Rom Foundation is striving to ‘close the gap’ on health and enable the boys to impart this valuable knowledge onto their Community; so they and many others can live a long and productive life.
The Foundation is working hard to improve the health of these young men and is doing so by implementing a number of different strategies. The first big challenge the lads face is to improve skils and knowledge of healthy eating and how to prepare healthy food. One of the first skills the lads learn is to make a healthy breakfast that will help them get through their long school day and to make their own lunch. A very common bad habit of school aged students is skipping breakfast, probably due to going to bed late and getting up too late, and to purchase lunch at schol which probably consists of fried food and soft drink.
Another aspect of the program is learning to cook healthy meals for each other. The expectation is to plan what they would like to eat each week, prepare a list of ingredients, shop for and budget for the shopping list and then to cook the meal chosen. There are a variety of meals each week but they do repeat them regularly so that they become very familiar and can eventually cook them without any support. This is something that is so new to these students, but so important as it is teaching them skills for life. This allows them to go back to their communities and cook for their families and one day when they have a family of their own they will be able to break that cycle of eating high fat, salt and sugar diets.
The purchasing of take away food and soft drinks is limited to special occasions. The aim of the program is to impress upon the lads that home cooking is a cheaper and healthier option. Take away foods and sugary drinks are conveniently available and the cheap option in remote communities. They are causing so many health issues for Aboriginal people that somehow the cycle has to be broken and the young people have to be educated as to why their people are dying at a significantly lower age than Non-Aboriginal people.