More than 8,700 kids across the Mackay Hospital and Health Service (HHS) are considered overweight or obese.
The Let’s Shape Up! project and Vegies Unlimited are teaming up to reduce this number by delivering fresh crates of fruit to schools across the Mackay region educating kids on the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices.
Mackay Institute of Research and Innovation (MIRI) Project Manager Robert Simpson said collaborating with Vegies Unlimited on an initiative such as this is what the Let’s Shape Up! project is all about.
“Obesity and type 2 diabetes are growing issues in our community and to tackle this we need to stand up as leaders and be the ones to encourage our tribes to make bite sized changes,” he said.
“Vegies Unlimited will be donating fruit to schools across the region helping educate our kids on the importance of eating healthy.
“It’s fantastic to see businesses like Vegies Unlimited passionate about the health of their community and willing to do what they can to tackle this emerging health crisis.”
Vegies Unlimited are one of more than 130 other leaders across the Mackay HHS inspiring their tribe to make bite size changes and tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes.
This figure has more than doubled since the project was launched in February this year.
“Everyone knows obesity causes many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Why do humans know this causes harm, yet generally ignore it? The “Holy Grail” is – how to change human behaviour,” he said.
“We are asking leaders from across community, workplace, school and family tribes to shape up and play their part in implementing behavioural change. In this case Vegies Unlimited are using their supply of fresh fruit to help kids make better informed lifestyle choices.
“As leaders it is our responsibility to encourage those within our sphere of influence to make bite sized changes towards leading healthier lifestyles.”
Vegies Unlimited Owner Stephen Schmidt is excited to be a part of shaping a healthier community while supporting local growers.
“Our children are the future and if we can instil good habits in them this will lead onto later life and also influence the choices of their parents,” he said.
“Vegies Unlimited has been heavily involved with the Greater Whitsunday Food Network (GWFN). Part of our objective through the GWFN is to ensure the supply of fresh local produce to the community and thus building a more resilient community.
“The ‘Let’s Shape Up’ project ties in with the objectives of the GWFN in that we are promoting healthy lifestyle choices.”