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Healthy eating + a moneywise attitude

Healthy eating + a moneywise attitude = Healthstylz

Low income families in south Auckland with primary school children are being mentored on how to gain wealth through health.

Health$tylz is a six-week 'Gaining Wealth thru Health' campaign pilot programme which links a team of health experts with volunteer families. Dietitians, a doctor, nurses and counsellors work with the families to educate them in budget-conscious shopping and nutritional eating.

The project has been created by AUT University's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE AUT) from the AUT Business School.

The Health$tylz programme includes two workshops, now completed, followed by a four-week period where participants follow a Five Star eating and shopping programme. Pre and post tests will measure the success of the project.

SIFE AUT project development manager and business student Emma Larsson says it's a myth that maintaining a healthy lifestyle costs a lot of money.

"Eating healthy shouldn't be expensive. A whole family can be fed a nutritious meal for the cost of just one takeaway.

"This project evolved because we want Kiwi kids to have a nutrition rich diet so they can live a full and active life."

At the first workshop, two guest speakers from the University of Otago Dietetic Training Programme discussed the food pyramid, portion sizes and healthy meal options. At the second, had two different dieticians advised on how to reduce fats and sugars in the diet and the merits of increasing fruit, vegetables and fibre intake.

Emma says in the short time between the two workshops one of the participant's son's changed his diet.

"He went from only eating popcorn, some fruit and snack foods to including sandwiches in his school lunch," she says.

"Now he is asking his mum for healthy food at home, showing it has been a good learning curve for both adults and kids on the programme."

She says by the end of the second workshop, participants left with a positive outlook and wanting to implement what they had learned.

The Health$tylz team includes six AUT business students, a network of dietitians and a nurse from AUT's Health, Counselling and Wellbeing, Dr Fay Clark from the Family and Christian Health Centre, Otara, and AUT University Pasifika liaison manager Ronji Tanielu.

Ronji says the initiative is innovative and exciting and provides a framework for involving otherwise disconnected Auckland communities.

"It's connecting AUT and its students with families and communities in a very real, positive and effective way."


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