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DHSS Health Promotion and Isle of Man Anti Cancer Association cooking and nutrition project - Take Away Skills 11 May 2006

DHSS Health Promotion in partnership with The Isle of Man Anti Cancer Association is happy to announce the launch of a new cooking and nutrition project, which begins 11th May 2006 called Take Away Skills.

The Take Away Skills project has been designed to address many of the contributing factors in obesity. These include availability and acceptability of certain foods, daily activity levels and the knowledge, skills, and confidence, to make effective decisions which will enable our young people to lead healthy productive lives.

Steve Rodan, MHK, Minister for Health and Social Security said,

“Tackling obesity is a challenging but vital issue that is inherent in our commitment to providing the best possible health and social care to the people of the Isle of Man. This project will provide some practical life skills and encourage our young people to take an active role in improving their health now and in the future.”

Angela Howland Health Promotion Officer said,

“I welcome the opportunity to work with the Isle of Man Anti Cancer Association again, supporting the groups and facilitators to improve the long-term health of young people and their families in our community”.

Take Away Skills builds on the successful partnership between Health Promotion and the Isle of Man Anti Cancer Association in projects such as skipping and the Safe in the Sun campaign. This new project is designed to enable children and young people on the Island to buy, prepare, and cook, nutritious food, based on a subject dear to young people, Take Away Food.

This project will address the health and social needs of young people in relation to optimum nutrition and prevention of obesity, diabetes, some cancers, coronary heart disease, and stroke. The project can be adapted to a wide range of ages and abilities, and will be delivered by established organisations across the government and voluntary sectors. The groups will be local, and this gives Health Promotion an opportunity to explore the challenges individuals and communities may have in improving their diet and health.

Young people not only need basic cooking skills, but local access to quality ingredients that they can afford to buy and cook. Our young people need the skills, knowledge, and a supportive environment in which to make healthier choices. Food has implications beyond nutrition, and we include food hygiene, fire safety, first aid, food and mental health, and food and the environment in the project, which can be run over three to six weeks. Key organisations will be given a basic equipment pack, which has been designed with health, safety, and efficient use of fuel in mind. All the key cooking skills will be taught, with the emphasis on healthier cooking methods such as steaming, stir frying, and grilling. Cultural needs and respect for difference will be considered in determining where food fits into our changing society. All produce will be sourced locally and vouchers will be given for food purchase.

The first 30 groups will be carefully evaluated to ensure the programme is easy to deliver in their communities, and we are looking forward to sharing skills and ideas. The initial project should leave a legacy within that community, and it is up to the groups to decide what that will be. It may be a change in the environment, such as a reduction in litter, a grow-your-own project or an expanded cooking project. The pack could form the basis of cooking kits for young people moving away from home or to university.

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