Healthy weight – a Government or a family issue, was a question put to secondary school students from the Murray Valley and Benalla regions by The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, at a forum at Parliament House.
The response from students placed the major responsibility for maintaining a healthy weight in children with their parents, Mr McCurdy said.
As one student noted, children eat what their parents place in front of them, and this is particularly true for younger children.
Students from Yarrawonga, Cobram and Benalla attended the forum, hosted by Mr McCurdy and The Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes, on Thursday.
Students had the opportunity to discuss issues relating to healthy weight, the most telling factors on the topic and any ideas they had, before speaking on an assigned topic, Mr McCurdy said.
The forum began in the Parliamentary dining room with a discussion on body image issues, what students see as an ‘ideal body weight’, how this is influenced by the images they see in magazines and on television, and whether underweight is as much a problem as overweight.
Students heard from Dr Sally Cockburn, also known as Dr Feel Good, on healthy weight and body sculpting issues.
Mick Wilson, from Tarrawingee, a coach with the BlueEarth Foundation, which promotes a unique movement approach to learning, also spoke to the forum on the mission to improve health and prevent the issues created by sedentary living by facilitating participation in physical activity – for communities and individuals.
The forum then moved into the legislative assembly chamber, where students from the participating schools, Yarrawonga College, Cobram Secondary College, Christ the King Anglican College Cobram and FCJ Benalla each had 10 minutes to speak on their assigned topic.
This was followed by group discussion and interaction, with questions and contributions from all participants.
Students took part in a tour of Parliament House at the conclusion of the forum.
There was some discussion on whether the forum should be held at Parliament House or in one of our regional centres, Mr McCurdy said. I believe the decision to host the forum at Parliament House was welcomed by the students and their families, and they enjoyed the experience.
Parliamentary intern, Siobhan Mahoney, who is undertaking a comprehensive public policy study into the issue of childhood obesity in the region, was also involved in the forum, which was co-ordinated by Martine Hooper from my staff.
I believe the forum provided a valuable opportunity for local students to contribute to this important study, Mr McCurdy concluded.