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Smart Cooking to close the gap

19-04-2021 Category: General Posted by: emily.roberts

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Image: Smart Cook participants and representatives from Marathon Health and Jemena.

Current ABS figures show a large gap in life expectancy between First Australians and non-Indigenous Australians – with chronic disease rates substantially affecting quality of life.

Locally, Marathon Health in partnership with Jemena, created the Smart Cook program – an initiative that provided hands on nutrition and health support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients of the not-for-profit’s Indigenous Chronic Disease (ICD) Clinic.

Anna Winter, Marathon Health Dietitian, said each session of Smart Cook, which ran every second week for 12-weeks, introduced a new area to explore such as understanding nutrition labels, easy to follow recipes, shopping on a budget and ways to incorporate healthy eating practices.

“We wanted to provide practical ways to support Smart Cook participants to make healthy swaps. Cooking, grocery shopping and understanding nutrition isn’t always simple. It can be hard to know what foods to choose so we worked with clients to build knowledge and develop their skills in meal planning,” Ms Winter said.

The program culminated in a cook-off held on Thursday where participants put their learnings to practice. The best dish, as judged by guest judges from Marathon Health and Jemena, won kitchen equipment.

“The main benefit of this program is improved overall health and wellness through nutrition for Indigenous people with chronic disease, all in a social and relaxed group delivery format.

“The participants are all regular clients of ours so we’re excited to see how they progress with everything they’ve learned and watch the benefits it’ll have on their over wellbeing,” Ms Winter said.

The Bathurst ICD Clinic serves as a one stop shop for First Australians with chronic health needs. It offers diabetes education, dietetic services, endocrinology, exercise physiology, podiatry and access to a respiratory physician.     

The Smart Cook program was made possible through funding from Jemena. The Bathurst ICD Clinic acknowledges the support provided by RDN’s Outreach Program and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health

More information about Marathon Health’s free Indigenous Chronic Disease Clinic can be found at

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