NACCHO Aboriginal health :Cats give healthy living message a kick forward


Travis Varcoe chats with Warrnambool’s Fiona Clarke at the Gunditjmara co-operative’s health Centre yesterday.

EATING healthy can become an empty message — unless you’re hearing it from Geelong midfielder Travis Varcoe.

Warrnambool’s Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative’s health clinic yesterday enlisted visiting Geelong players to help it target obesity and smoking.

Varcoe, Hamish McIntosh, Joel Hamling and Brad Hartman shared their health and fitness knowledge with a small indigenous audience.

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All four said they dreamt of playing at the top level from a young age, leaving no place for poor diet or smoking.

“(Footy) is a great driving tool — we could stand there and bat on about healthy eating and get a lot more out of it than a teacher trying to get the same message across,” Varcoe said.

“You don’t realise until you get out there how much joy footy does for people.

“It’s great for us Aboriginal boys to get out here and just meet the community and share a bit of our knowledge with them.”

Co-operative active lifestyle and tobacco action worker Ken Brown said football was a good way to target health changes in young people.

“It’s all ages but it’s starting with the younger ages because teenagers are smoking younger now,” Mr. Brown said.

“Having these blokes here is a big bonus but it is hard. It’s not a quick fix.

“Hopefully we can get it through that smoking will kill you.”

You can hear more about Aboriginal health and Close the Gap at the NACCHO SUMMIT


The importance of our NACCHO member Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHS) is not fully recognised by governments.

The economic benefits of ACCHS has not been recognised at all.

We provide employment, income and a range of broader community benefits that mainstream health services and mainstream labour markets do not. ACCHS need more financial support from government, to provide not only quality health and wellbeing services to communities, but jobs, income and broader community economic benefits.

A good way of demonstrating how economically valuable ACCHS are is to showcase our success at a national summit.



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