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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Eurobodalla boot camp initiative kickstarting healthy lifestyles

Date posted: 30 November -0001

Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents of Eurobodalla, in New South Wales, have been taking part in a boot camp twice a week at Hanging Rock, as part of the George Rose knockout health challenge, a state wide competition offering $20,000 to the team which loses the most weight.

The 'Eurobodalla Scale Busters' are in the running for the prize, with the team participants having shed a combined 146.2 kilograms. One participant lost 25 kilograms in just 12 weeks.

Aboriginal Health and Education Officer, Ivan Goolagong, said that although he was confident of the team's chances of winning cash this year, participants had already gained a lot out of the challenge. He noted that Indigenous people were at higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease than their non-Indigenous counterparts, and that more than half of the team's participants had diabetes. Participants have gained real health benefits as a direct result of their efforts. 'One contestant with diabetes had a blood glucose level of 20 - their level just dropped,' said Mr Goolagong. 'Another participant had to lose 20 kilos before she could have an operation - she's got nine kilos to go.'

Mr Goolagong said participants were taking control of their own and their families' health. 'Their kids are looking at mum's and dad's training and saying 'this is what we need to do to keep healthy.' He noted that parents were also cooking healthier foods, and reducing their intake of fast food.

Trainer, Brendan Ellis, said training on Monday and Thursday evenings served as healthy social gatherings, and had huge flow-on effects. 'I think the biggest thing out of it is not just the weight loss, but that everyone's self-esteem has picked up from it,' he said.

The initiative was a partnership between the Southern NSW Local Health District and Southern NSW Medicare Local. Mr Ellis, who has continued to run the boot camps, said many participants were back at Hanging Rock on Monday, despite the end of the challenge on Friday.

Source: Bay Post Moruya Examiner


Last updated: 28 May 2015
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