They know their calories from their kilojoules and can tell you why low fat is a better substitute for full cream, and now Metro South Health’s expert nutritionists can add ‘award-winners’ to their list of credentials after winning the public sector award at the Queensland Multicultural Awards for leadership in supporting cultural diversity.
Metro South Health senior nutritionist Kym McClymont said it was a great honour for her team to be recognised for their work with the Samoan community in Logan through the ‘Soifua Maloloina’ program (‘healthy living for Samoans’).
“Metro South Health nutritionists work in partnership with the Samoan community, which is why the program has been so well accepted and adopted throughout the community,” Ms McClymont said.
“Samoans are seven times more likely to present to hospital with diabetes complications and are twice as likely to die from avoidable conditions such as diabetes and heart disease than the rest of the Queensland population.
“We created a nutrition education and healthy cooking package to address these concerning health issues in partnership with the Voice of Samoan People Inc (VOSP) to encourage healthy swaps for traditional Samoan meals.
“These cooking sessions feature healthy spins on traditional recipes by replacing fatty cuts of meat with leaner choices, using less oil and adding lots of vegetables, so the taste isn’t compromised. We also created healthy catering guidelines and a takeaway option with community input, which helps families make good decisions when they are out and about and on days when they are too busy to cook at home.
“While the statistics are concerning, the good news is that many Samoan families are already swapping fried food and starchy vegetables for leaner meats with green leafy vegetables and swapping full cream coconut cream for ‘lite’.
“These healthier choices are teaching kids at an early age which foods are the most nutritious and energy-rich, and they in turn will be able to teach their own children one day about the long-term benefits of a healthy diet.”
Ms McClymont said nutrition interventions play a pivotal role in preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart, liver and kidney disease.
“A poor diet is strongly linked to rates of chronic disease, so proactively making lifestyle changes for your family is the best gift you can give them and will ensure you have a long healthy future ahead.
“We have worked together to achieve these positive results and will continue working together to bring down the rates of chronic disease.”
The Queensland Multicultural Awards recognise volunteers, community organisations and government departments whose efforts have helped make Queensland a diverse and dynamic place to live, work and raise a family.