The Morrison Government is investing $6.57 million in extensive and exciting programs to tackle chronically high levels of Type 2 diabetes, and boost health and wellbeing through sport among Top End and Central Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
“Our goal is to develop positive lifestyles from an early age because this is critical for lifelong health,” said Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM.
A comprehensive sports and health program - with soccer as the basis - will receive $2.7 million, to improve remote health and education in the Northern Territory.
The funding will support the Bridging The Gap Foundation’s (BTGF) National Indigenous Preventive Health and Educational Program (NIPHEP).
The NIPHEP is a new partnership between Menzies School of Health Research and John Moriarty Football.
“The partnership will use the Menzies HealthLAB program, engaging with young people in remote communities to measure and better understand their own risk factors for chronic diseases in a ‘pop-up’ mobile laboratory,” said Minister Wyatt.
“This exciting development will involve young people in making better choices, with a strong focus on children aged between five and 16.
“The program has a strong track record, encouraging regular school attendance, healthier lifestyles through better nutrition and more physical activity.”
“It builds self-respect, resilience and strong connections between families and communities.”
John Moriarty Football co-founder John Moriarty said his organisation was extremely grateful for this significant funding commitment.
“We will use it to extend our work of the past seven years, improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory,” he said.
“The partnership with Menzies, which this funding is enabling, will add a new level of research and measurement to our efforts, towards resilient, healthier outcomes for our young footballers, their families, and communities.”
The program will be implemented in six remote communities.
The Morrison Government is also providing $3.87 million to Menzies, in partnership with health services, professional and consumer organisations, to work closely with communities and families to develop age-appropriate and culturally relevant programs for young people with Type 2 diabetes.
“This is a life-changing and lifesaving opportunity with potential to contribute strongly to Closing the Gap in health equality,” said Minister Wyatt.
“Our young children aged between 10 and 14 have significantly higher rates of Type 2 diabetes and are more likely to be hospitalised than non-Indigenous Australians because of this condition.”
Researchers will work with groups in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Central Australia, the Kimberley and Far North Queensland to develop improved models of care.
“Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with Type 2 diabetes are at particularly high risk of developing complications, including kidney failure requiring dialysis. This collaboration will develop, pilot and evaluate enhanced models of care which are appropriate for young people”, said Professor Cass, Menzies Director.
“If we can keep young people healthy, and prevent the devastating complications of diabetes, the benefits to individuals, their families and communities will be obvious.”
The Morrison Government has committed $3.9 billion over four years to the delivery of high-quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.