Big Green Bus helps Gympie kids health
A SYDNEY family has put everything on the line to fight childhood obesity and take their message to more than 100,000 kids and parents around Australia.
With one in four Australian children classified as overweight or obese, parents to a 10-year-old daughter and almost six-year-old son, Belinda and Israel Smith know first hand what effects food can have on children.
“Kids eat too much ‘pretend’ food,” Belinda said. “It’s food made in a lab for profits, instead of for health – which affects not only a child’s weight, but also their emotions and concentration.
“We’ve experienced this first-hand with our daughter’s volatile moods, which dramatically improved when we changed what she was eating,” Belinda said.
The couple sold their apartment, re-homed their cats and loaded the kids into a purpose-built motorhome to tackle the problem head-on.
The family and their big green bus “Kaley” roll into Gympie next week for a free community health event and screening of That Sugar Film.
Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador and Health Coach Belinda said the 18-month tour was long overdue.
“I couldn’t simply sit back and watch the children of Australia grow into a life of chronic illness and disease,” said Belinda.
“As a mum, I want to do everything I can to stop childhood obesity in its tracks, and give my kids and their generation a healthy future.”
Belinda, who is 47 years old, said research shows that for the first time in human history, today’s children have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
The couple created a food-education program for three to 15 year old children, and are taking it to towns across Australia, travelling more than 50,000km, home-schooling their children while on tour.
“We’ve run this program in over a dozen locations already, and we’re on track to visit over 50 schools in rural and regional Australia,” she said.
The couple’s work has inspired children to choose fruit and vegetables instead of packaged snacks, and those children are now teaching their parents how to shop.
“Each time we finish a school program, we get emails and text messages from excited parents and teachers,” Belinda said.
The Big Green Bus will be in the Gympie Showground on Saturday, June 11, for a free community version of The Mad Food Science Program, a fun and interactive presentation with quirky experiments designed to empower parents and kids to make healthier food choices.
The Smiths will be on stage at 2.30pm, followed by a free screening of That Sugar Film, supported by local healthy food vendors and providores.
“We’re running a community version of The Mad Food Science Program – a fun interactive presentation where we’ll be teaching parents and kids with quirky experiments all about real foods and why processed foods have little or no nutritional value for our bodies,” Belinda said.
The Big Green Bus will be at Gympie Central Shopping Centre, cnr Bruce Hwy and Excelsior Rd, on Monday, June 13. Belinda and Israel will be making snack box picnic lunches, using of course, real whole food, for children to try.
“People will be amazed at how much better their children feel after a meal like that,” said Israel.
“It’s all about teaching and empowering parents and children to eat better.”
“My dream is that kids will see healthy food as being cool, and want to eat well all the time,” Belinda said.