Deadly Choices comes to the Mallee

A program championed by National Rugby League stars to promote healthy lifestyle choices is being rolled out in Mildura, Swan Hill and Kerang.

Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) will launch “Deadly Choices” - a new partnership with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health. The school and community-based education program encourages Indigenous people to be healthy role models for family, friends and broader community networks.

MDAS spokesperson Nathan Yates said community days to launch Deadly Choices launches were help on April 6 at Mildura and April 12 at Swan Hill, as well as being planned for Kerang.

Deadly Choices Ambassador and former NRL star Preston Campbell made a guest appearance for the Mildura launch.

Campbell, who made his NRL debut with the Gold Coast Charters in 1998 as a diminutive winger, runs the Preston Campbell Foundation, a charity to support programs that inspire and mentor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

During his career, he played for the Cronulla Sharks, Penrith Panthers and the Gold Coast Titans before retiring in 2011 after 267 NRL first grade games.

Mr Yates said the launch was an opportunity to showcase some of the great things MDAS was doing and yarn with the community about Deadly Choices.

“The program was developed in 2011 and targets chronic disease, nutrition, physical activity and tobacco education,” he said.

“In other areas of Australia, there have been huge successes. 100 percent of participants now eat breakfast more often and 57% have increased their physical daily exercise after completing the program.

“For community, it’s about coming in to get a health check every nine months and they’ll get a pretty cool piece of merchandise from one of the partnering NRL clubs like a Tshirt.

“The principle behind Deadly Choices is to educate and empower people and communities to live active and healthy lifestyles.  That’s where it’s had a real and lasting effect in other communities.”

The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, based in Queensland, has partnerships with Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Gold Suns and Brisbane Lions.

“Deadly Choices aims for our mob to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, as well as encouraging our people to access their local Community-Controlled Health Service and complete an annual ‘Health Check’ -- incentivised with some Deadly merchandise!” Mr Yates said.

The launch will take place at Nowingi Place, Mildura, from 10am to 3pm on April 6, with activities including meditation, yoga, Indigenous games, Auskick, Zumba, arts and crafts and tai chi. There will be prizes, free transport and a free barbecue.

Mr Yates said the next phase would be delivering the Deadly Choices in local school
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