Some new characters are appearing in Latrobe City as part of a campaign to encourage healthier eating among young people.
The Fab Food, Marvellous Mood campaign was launched in March by Latrobe City Youth Council to encourage healthy eating as a way to feel better, mentally and physically
Young people are being encouraged to eat a diet rich in whole foods (fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and to eat less sugar, snack foods, take-away foods, high energy foods and highly processed foods.
During the first stage of the campaign we saw colourful bus wrap-ups moving around Latrobe streets. Now with the second stage there are new characters, created by Luka Wild from Enable Design Studio, appearing on Latrobe Valley buses and in social media. Staff at staff at Council’s Early Learning Centres, Preschools, Supported Playgroups and Libraries are also wearing campaign t-shirts.
The new cartoon characters include fruit, vegetables and a water bottle, and are designed to not only engage but draw attention to the advantages of consuming a healthy diet.
Council said that if we learn lessons about healthy eating at a young age, we are more likely to continue enjoying such a diet into the future and reduce our risk of diet-related medical problems.
Research shows that healthy diets have been linked to reduced risk of experiencing depression and that unhealthy diets, such as those high in processed foods, are associated with increased depression and anxiety.
In Latrobe City, 17% of people experience high or very high psychological distress, significantly higher than the Gippsland (14.3%) and Victorian state averages (12.6%). More than half of people in Latrobe City do not meet the guidelines for the consumption of fruit and vegetables.
The first stage of the Fab Food, Marvellous Mood campaign included posters, magnets and stickers in the community, social media posts on Council’s Facebook page and t-shirts for events.
Council received funding from the Latrobe Health Assembly, through Food For All Latrobe Valley, to deliver the campaign which aligns with the ‘Living Well’ Latrobe Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan. Council also contributed funding and in-kind support.
The campaign came about after Food For All Latrobe Valley facilitated community consultation workshops iscussing how food security solutions could be implemented locally.
During these workshops, community members raised the issue of mental health as a barrier to people consuming a healthy diet and also a potential consequence of unhealthy diets over time.