Media releases

October 12, 2009

Cooking up a new approach to childhood nutrition

Medibank has marked Nutrition Week by announcing Masterchef Australia finalists Geni Papacostas and Sandra Moreno have signed on to deliver an innovative cooking skills program designed to foster healthy eating habits amongst primary schoolchildren.

'Healthy Generations', funded by a $172,000 Department of Health and Ageing grant, will utilise Geni and Sandra's well-known cooking skills and experience in preparing family meals to instruct parents how to prepare delicious and nutritious meals their children will love.

The hands-on classes will be supported by sessions with behavioural psychologists and dieticians, who will help parents with the less tangible aspects of getting children to eat healthy food.

Schools in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide will be participating in the pilot Medibank program and Geni too is excited to be a part of a program with the potential to make a real impact on the lives of children and adults.

"There is no doubt Australian's have a love affair with food, but regrettably we do not always make the right choices. Sensible eating is an important life skill that parents need to teach their children from a young age, and an understanding of basic cooking skills underpins this.

"The food our children eat affects everything they do - their mood, their behaviour, their health, and their ability to concentrate in school.

"Unfortunately our busy lifestyles mean that many people have missed out on acquiring the essential knowledge necessary to make informed choices about food, or learn the basic skills needed to cook nutritious food in the home. This Medibank program is designed to close those gaps.

"I am excited to be involved in the development of the Healthy Generations Program, and I cannot wait to get out and start sharing the joys of cooking delicious and nutritious food when the program begins next year," Geni said.

Chief Executive Officer of Medibank Health Solutions, Stan Macionis, said Geni and Sandra were perfect choices for the Healthy Generations Program.

"Millions of Australians saw Geni and Sandra's kitchen skills and passion for food on display in Masterchef Australia earlier this year.

"It is this passion that will inspire parents to prepare nutritious, healthy meals in the home, and to pass on to their children the skills they need to make healthy choices for life. They are ideal for the Healthy Generations Program," he said.

The program, in the final stages of development now, will be piloted in selected primary schools from February next year, with parents of pupils from participating schools eligible to attend at no cost to themselves.

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