Healthier Homes: A culturally tailored, educational, innovative and online health promotion initiative delivered by the Good Start Program, aiming to promote positive health outcomes, reduce the rates of chronic disease and tackle health inequity among one of Queensland’s most vulnerable populations

Jessica Hardt1, Mr  Brent Matautia1

1Good Start Program | Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, South Brisbane, Australia

Background: The Māori & Pacific Islander population continues to suffer the poorest health of the nation, attributable to socioeconomic disadvantage and a lack of culturally-appropriate health services. The Good Start program improves health outcomes of Māori & Pacific Islander children and families, via culturally-tailored initiatives. Online health promotion strategies were required immediately to avoid detrimental health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthier Homes delivered culturally-tailored online education to the Māori & Pacific Islander community, whilst residing in their homes due to social distancing regulations. Developed utilised an action-based approach, each phase was guided by effective planning, social media insights and consumer consultation, ensuring relevance to community needs.

Results: Healthier Homes delivery from March-May 2020 produced 58 videos, spanning 20 hours and 37 minutes. The videos received 67,550 views, increasing by 333% compared to pre-COVID lockdown. Healthier Homes content was shared 521 times throughout Māori & Pacific Islander communities across Australia, New Zealand and the pacific islands including Kiribati. Overall viewer satisfaction averaged 9.2/10, with ‘better eating habits’, ‘making traditional dishes healthier’ and doing physical activity together as a family’ reported health improvements.

Conclusion: Culturally-appropriate education empowers the community to implement healthy eating and physical activity practices, aligning with cultural values. Community involvement within the refinement of the program creates a sustainable and culturally-specific health promotion model, with potential to be scaled across the system. A strong consumer led approach will significantly improve health outcomes across generations and ultimately tackling health inequity among one of Queensland’s most vulnerable population groups.


Jessica Hardt is currently working as a Research Dietitian with Children’s Health Queensland, specialising in the area of paediatric obesity management. Jessica is evaluating the childhood prevention and treatment initiatives implemented by the Good Start program, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the Maori & Pacific Islander population living in South-East Queensland and Cairns. Jessica works to ensure all research processes coincide with sustainable program delivery and culturally appropriate practice. Jessica holds a great passion for giving every child the healthiest start to life and reducing the current rates of health inequity in the process.

Brent Matautia is a Multicultural Health Coach with the Good Start Program, working within the Healthier Together program, providing a childhood overweight and obesity prevention service to Maori and Pacific Islander communities. Holding an identified position, Brent builds outstanding rapport with families as he coaches them through the 8-week program, delivering sessions relating to healthy eating, physical activity and positive parenting practices. Brent holds a wealth of knowledge on working successfully with families of Maori and Pacific Islander descent, a key factor in the program’s success. He also currently leads the Healthier Homes initiative where he creates and produces videos alongside his colleagues. Brent creates meaningful content to educate families about ways to live healthier lives.

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