Short films deliver health messages in Indigenous communities - Deciding to make difference
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Short films deliver health messages in Indigenous communities

Short films deliver health messages in Indigenous communities

Skinnyfish, a Darwin-based record company, is using its connections with Indigenous musicians to spread health messages in remote communities. Co-founder Mark Grose says they will launch 30 short films devised and written by people from seven communities from Western Arnhem Land to Croker Island (with help from the record label and filmmaker Paul Williams). Comedy, music and traditional knowledge are used to tackle serious health issues, including excess consumption of soft drinks. “So it’s really Aboriginal people speaking to Aboriginal people about a modern issue.” The overall message is “get active, eat bush tucker and live longer”.


Sugar Man starring Nigel Yunupingu addresses excess sugar consumption in his community of Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land.


Bush Food Is Really, Really Good starring the kids of Manmoyi community who want to encourage everyone to eat better food, and the best food of all – bush food. Here a child shows us a long yam (Dioscorea transversa), one of the traditional staples Indigenous women have gathered for thousands of years in The Top End. Long yam is nutrient dense and a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals and has a low GI making it a very good choice of fresh veg for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes who need to manage their blood glucose levels to avoid the complications of diabetes.


Why bush food is really, really good. In the 1980s, Prof. Jennie Brand-Miller analysed the nutrient composition of Aboriginal bush foods. “We looked at the protein, carbohydrate, fat and fibre content and built a database of the Indigenous diet,” she says. “We also found that many of the foods tended to be low GI.’ She and her co-authors published the results in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and make the point that their findings “are consistent with the hypothesis that carbohydrate in traditional diets is slowly digested and absorbed and may once have been protective against diabetes”.