Thumbs Up - The Jimmy Little Foundation
The Thumbs Up ! Program is aimed at Indigenous children aged 5 – 16. A creative environment using music and multi media workshops, concerts and cooking with senior community women is employed to promote healthy eating education and information. The aim is to encourage young Indigenous Australians to make better and healthier food choices particularly in regard to the drinking of adequate amounts of water daily instead of sweet sugar laden drinks and also to promote the eating more fruit and vegetables as snacks rather than choosing “junk” foods.
The incidence of Diabetes in Indigenous communities leading to the inevitable associated chronic diseases decimating the Indigenous population is alarmingly high. Programs aimed specifically at Indigenous youth informing them of the food choices required for a healthy life are in abundance but using a high profile Indigenous role model like Dr. Jimmy Little AO who has lived with diabetes together with his young artists will help get the message through.
Education surrounding healthy food options in remote areas is intrinsically linked to longer life expectancy for Indigenous communities. Healthy eating has a direct co-relation to the incidence of kidney failure which is destroying families and communities accounting for at least one in three Indigenous deaths. It has been said that it is hard for children to be educated if they are unhealthy and to be healthy they need to be educated.Five remote Arnhem Land communities were involved in the Thumbs Up ! pilot in 2009.Indigenous artists Shellie Morris and Allen Murphy joined Jimmy to deliver the Thumbs Up ! message to these communities.
Music is the universal language of love” says Jimmy Little.
Jimmy and his team of Indigenous artists together with employing new media delivery are integral as the driving forces to deliver the Thumbs Up ! message. The unique combination of music, song writing, story telling and recurrent positive food messages is the key to the success of Thumbs Up !
Young people naturally embrace music culture and so are directly influenced by messages, trends & lifestyle choices which the artists they admire; represent. Music is the Thumbs Up ! catalyst which will engage the youth and ensure that the challenging and difficult process of delivering the Thumbs Up ! message is achieved.Indigenous role models such as Jimmy Little are rare. His music career spanning 6 decades is unsurpassed by any other Australian artist. Jimmy’s position as an Indigenous elder and entertainment icon ensures his status and capacity to attract and engage young artists who will follow in his footsteps to continue the Thumbs Up ! legacy. As Jimmy approaches 73 years of age he is a great example to the young of what a non smoking non drinking Indigenous man can achieve by following a healthy lifestyle.