Now Reading: How this Bachelor of Nutrition graduate is combating childhood obesity in Chile

How this Bachelor of Nutrition graduate is combating childhood obesity in Chile

How this Bachelor of Nutrition graduate is combating childhood obesity in Chile

Skye Roxburgh is a graduate of the Bachelor of Nutrition program. She is a passionate wholefood cooking and has spent the last 12 years working, studying and raising four children in Santiago, Chile.

At present, she is continuing her work in the nutrition field and is also enrolled to start in a Post Graduate Diploma of Obesity & Weight Management which progresses to an MSc. The distinctive skill set developed during the Bachelor of Nutrition program has provided her with the ability to work in various nutrition roles; one of these roles is in community nutrition as a nutrition educator and facilitator for a Chilean NGO, Fundacion Comer Mejor.

The increase in childhood obesity

Childhood obesity demonstrates an increasing prevalence on a global scale and is a major public health issue, and Chile is no exception. Fundacion Comer Mejor is a Chilean NGO dedicated to educating and encouraging the community to eat a healthy diet. They work with children of preschool and school age in areas where the social gradient and corresponding social and economic determinants of health have the potential to impact eating habits and long term and short term health. The primary focus of the nutrition education and capacity building sessions is knowledge and interaction with fruits and vegetables, as low consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with increased risk of obesity amongst this cohort. What they are doing, appears to be similar to the Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food’s new program, Learn Your Fruit and Veg.

Let’s hear it from Skye:

“I began involvement with the Fundacion Comer Mejor when I was doing my Capstone observational research project. Once that had been completed, I emailed the president of the foundation, Maria Jose Perez Siredey, to find out if they needed a facilitator for any of their projects. In the end, we decided that the consistency of facilitator could greatly benefit the program. The program setting I am facilitating this year is predominantly council funded and involves around 60 children.

Earlier this year, I met with Maria Jose and we decided to align more with current evidence demonstrating that more parental involvement could help to benefit the outcome and impact of the program. We have developed a pre-test questionnaire for the parents, to address their felt needs and help with the evaluation of the program. This year the foundation is inviting parents to be involved as helpers in the sessions to promote ownership and connection and sustainability of the program. All the recipes that the children make will also be emailed to the parents. We are addressing data collection methodology across the settings to better demonstrate and attribute causality and generalizability of the program, which could help to ensure ongoing funding.

Skye Roxburgh

To balance my yin with my yang, I am helping the foundation develop recipes for a series of 4 illustrated story/recipe books that they are creating. They won funds to develop these stories about the seasonal fruits and vegetables from the central region of Chile. Each book has simple, cheap recipes with minimal ingredients designed to be made by children at home after the session. The best part is the children really seem to enjoy the classes. In one of the sessions last year some of the kids were so proud of their cooking skills and creations, they wanted to take them home to their parents as a present. I have kept that in mind when organizing the materials, and we will have extra take-home containers on hand!

The president of the foundation is tireless in her fundraising efforts and management of the foundation, as well as her passion and commitment to nutrition education for vulnerable. She has even been asked to be opening speaking for a UN & FAO sponsored event later this year!

I feel honored to be part of such a great program and foundation best of all I can apply some of my public health nutrition skills to help this cause.”

If you wanted to find out more or donate visit Foundation Comer Mejor. The website is in Spanish, but if you follow the link then it should direct you to the donate section, if you choose the PayPal option then the information should then be in English.

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