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Voting for children’s health

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The North Central Review
The North Central Review
The North Central Review is an independently owned newspaper publishing company based in Kilmore that is responsible for publishing two community newspapers each week, covering communities within the Mitchell Shire

Earlier this month, community group Healthy Kids Mitchell took a vote on which collaborative pitches would be moving forward in the upcoming year.

Held at the Beveridge Community Centre, the workshop attracted more than 25 community groups, associations, and residents, including Federal Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell.

Launched in late 2022, Healthy Kids Mitchell was formed as a result of a Reflexive Evidence and Systems interventions to Prevent Obesity and Non-communicable Disease (RESPOND) project survey, a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded community approach to raising healthy children.

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The survey, which focused on children in Years 4 and 6 in the Mitchell Shire, had showed concerning results.

While showcasing that 74 per cent of children met fruit consumption guidelines, only eight per cent met vegetable consumption guidelines, 17 per cent met physical consumption guidelines, and 54 per cent met water consumption guidelines.

Healthy Kids Mitchell stated that these results highlighted the need for the community to work together to ensure children had access to healthy routines and opportunities.

Healthy Kids Mitchell Facilitator Lucy Linton spoke on RESPOND’s intentions, noting the collaborative efforts between the initiative and the community.

“RESPOND is a Deakin University initiative funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council,” she said.

“The goal is to promote and maintain the health of children, which it does by empowering communities to lead actions that promote healthy eating and physical activity.”

Since Healthy Kids Mitchell’s launch, 10 of the 37 projects have revolved around the northern wards of the Mitchell Shire, including the Seymour Food Relief Collaboration and weekly park runs along the Goulburn River Trail.

Workshop activities for Mitchell’s southern wards prompted project pitches around children’s active lifestyles, education, environment, and healthy and economic conditions.

Diversity Officer at Nexus Primary Health Wendy Kelly praised the project’s deliverance of inclusive sport in the area.

“The only all-abilities sport in Mitchell was soccer, and now we have an all-abilities basketball team getting ready to compete regionally,” she said.

Ms Linton thanked the community’s response at the event, acknowledging the great turn out on the day.

“I am happy with the community engagement. A wide variety of perspectives and experiences helped us to gain a greater understanding of the community,” she said.

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