The Oceania Athletics Association (OAA) identified Nutrition and Health as a priority area for the IAF funding. Nutrition is a major determinant of health, and promoting a healthy diet has the potential to substantially reduce the burden of disease and improve quality of life. OAA engaged the Griffith University Health Sciences, Nutrition and Dietetics department to continue our research and tailor workshops to the needs of our Regional areas.

OAA also engaged Dr Amelia Afuha’amango Tuipulotu (Tonga Ministry of Health and recently elected Rapporteur on the World Health Organisation’s Executive Board) and Robert Oliver the Executive Director of the Pacific Island Food Revolution television program to provide promotional ideas and discuss the workshops to ensure the IAF Project will be suitable and sustainable within the Oceania region.

The external stakeholders and partnerships we have now established through this funding and program will be an ongoing relationship for future projects in the Oceania region, we are very excited at the doors these relationships have now opened.  

Throughout COVID-19, the OAA Office has continued to work with the students from Griffith University and Dr Irwin (Professor at Griffith University) in preparing the background information and educational seminar materials.  Although we are unable to present the courses in a face-to-face capacity we will roll the courses out via video conferencing over the second half of 2020 and then face to face in 2021. The materials prepared are everlasting and will be a breathable document that can grow as the program evolves in the future. 

Over the past couple of days our research team, lead by Katie Johnston, has held round table discussions with our High-Performance Athletes on the Gold Coast, these consist of Lataisi Mwea from Kiribati, Heleina Young from Fiji, Mirian Peni from Papua New Guinea, Elly Buckholz, Indigenous Australian and Bree Masters from Australia.

The first round table discussion provided background information for our team to understand the athletes’ challenges and barriers of moving away from home, living in a new environment and adjusting to the new training sessions regime. The athletes were then required to record a 3-day meal plan. During that week the athletes had their BMI tested using the Griffith University equipment.

Hydration and Rehydration was the first classroom topic for the athletes to understand how important fluid, especially water, was to their bodies, before, during and after training, this week the athletes will record the amount of water they are drinking and can monitor the hydration through the colour of their urine and how they are feeling before, during and after training.

Oceania Athletics looks forward to releasing the first part of the video series in the coming weeks.