Effective nutrition education for Aboriginal Australians: lessons from a diabetes cooking course

J Nutr Educ Behav. Jan-Feb 2012;44(1):55-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2010.10.006. Epub 2011 Jul 22.


Objectives: To examine the experiences of Aboriginal Australians with or at risk of diabetes who attended urban community cooking courses in 2002-2007; and to develop recommendations for increasing the uptake and effectiveness of nutrition education in Aboriginal communities.

Methods: Descriptive qualitative approach using semistructured interviews with 23 Aboriginal course participants aged 19-72. Verbatim transcripts were coded using NVivo 7 software, and qualitative analysis was undertaken.

Results: Engagement and learning were increased by emphasizing the social aspects of the program, holding the course in a familiar Aboriginal community-controlled health setting and using small group learning with Aboriginal peers. Partnership with a vocational training institute provided teaching expertise, but there was conflict between vocational and health promotion objectives.

Conclusions and implications: Nutrition programs for Aboriginal Australians should be social, flexible, and held in accessible, culturally appropriate settings and focus on healthful cooking techniques using simple, affordable ingredients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Cooking / methods*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / ethnology*
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group / education*
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group / psychology*