Tell us about the Health Promotion team?
Our team consists of Health Promotion Coordinator Siarn Wilson and Health Promotion Officers Perissa Amirinia and Melissa Rowland.
We work with City of Kingston schools, workplaces and sporting clubs to increase awareness of obesity prevention, sexual health and family violence prevention.
We know if we focus on the places where people live, learn, work and play, we’re able to have a greater impact on community health behaviours. Health promotion actions also focus on primary prevention where the goal is to help people stay well; preventing illness and injury in the first place.
Why is health promotion so important?
Primary prevention aims to influence societal attitudes, beliefs and norms. Using smoking as an example – it was once ‘cool’ and socially acceptable to begin smoking as a teenager. Smoking was allowed in pubs, restaurants and aeroplanes, advertised widely and even endorsed by doctors! Through ongoing advocacy, education, leadership, taxes and legislation, more people are quitting and fewer teenagers are starting to smoke. Smoking prevalence is at a record low 10.7% in Victoria, compared to 20.1% of adults in the UK.
Societal behaviour changes take time. We measure local progress working towards a bigger goal and we’re in it for the long haul!
What are some current health promotion initiatives?
In the last 12 months, the health promotion team has supported 51 different settings implementing primary prevention strategies across the City of Kingston.
We support preschools, schools and workplaces in the Achievement Program – a State Government health and wellbeing framework which aims to create healthier environments across health priority areas like healthy eating, physical activity, sun protection, mental wellbeing and tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
We work with preschools and schools to progress through the health benchmarks, build capacity of teachers and engage parents. We create healthy canteens, promote respectful relationships and deliver the infamous Ben & Molly Healthy Eating Puppet Show.
In partnership with other local health promoters we deliver a number of other initiatives including delivering the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence social marketing campaign across the Southern Metro region beginning November 25.
We also support City of Kingston sporting clubs to create healthy environments through healthy, profitable canteens and gender equitable sports clubs.