Evaluation of the Gosnells Women's Health Service Healthy Lifestyles for Multicultural Women Program
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In 2008 the Gosnells Women's Health Service (GWHS) was the recipient of a Healthy Active Australia grant. The aim of the grant was to increase the physicalactivity levels and healthy eating knowledge and behaviours of migrant women who access the GWHS. To achieve this aim the GWHS implemented learning activities for the target group, with the intention of increasing knowledge and changing behaviours for physical activity and nutrition. The physical activity component of the grant was implemented through swimming lessons and gentle exercise classes. Cooking and nutrition classes were held to teach the women about healthy and affordable foods.The swimming program attracted 118 participants, and 56 women participated in the gentle exercise sessions. The program increased most participants' physical activity levels by providing an opportunity to be active, as most women in the target group were not able to engage in physical activity for several reasons.The main barriers to physical activity in this group are a lack of affordable culturally appropriate (women's only) venues, and a lack of affordable child care. GWHS overcame these barriers by providing women's only activities and childcare. Twenty-seven women attended the cooking and nutrition classes. The classes increased women's knowledge of healthy and affordable foods which are available in Australia. The classes also assisted women, for whom English is a second language, with reading recipes. Nearly all participants who participated in evaluation reported cooking healthy meals at home for their families on completion of the sessions, and agreed that the sessions had increased their ability to do so. As a result of the program, the aquatic centre where the swimming lessons were held has agreed to continue running women's-only classes for those women who can attend the centre and pay for lessons.
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