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From the canteen to the community

Raquel wants to help create healthier kids and communities.

Third-year Health Science student Raquel Andrews, 21, has always been interested in nutrition — even when she was a little girl.

“Growing up, my mum was always very interested in nutrition. She always told us about the benefits of healthy food and how it can improve quality of life.

 “In primary school, I used to have healthy foods from my mum, and people would make nasty comments. But if friends went to the canteen and got a cookie, everyone would say 'yum.' There was so much positivity about unhealthy food.”

That’s why when Raquel graduates, she hopes to get a Masters in Dietetics and help change young people’s perceptions about healthy food.

I would love to work with schools with young kids. I think it’s important that they learn healthy behaviours when they’re young.

“I’d like to change the nutrition programs in primary and high schools so kids know how important healthy food is.”

Raquel is so passionate about nutrition that she finds time around her study commitments to volunteer.

 “At the moment I’m working on a veggie box scheme at the Northern Suburbs Community Centre. A group of us students package fruit and vegetables into large paper bags and they can be purchased by people on a low income.

“It’s a cheaper way for people to access fresh produce than through a supermarket,” she said.

“A limited budget can be a big barrier to eating healthily. Fruit and vegetables add up if you have a large family to feed, and it can be a lot cheaper to buy bulk products that are processed and unhealthy.”

Raquel enjoyed the practical learning in her course, and her favourite unit was Community, Public Health and Nutrition.

“This unit focused on learning about the barriers some communities face.

We even took cooking classes to really learn about the costs and time involved in food preparation; it really gave us a better perspective on the constraints some families face.

“I also did a project plan on community gardens and how they could be implemented in schools. The project plan focused on addressing the many challenges community garden projects may face and strategies schools can apply for a successful project."

Raquel has no doubt she’s studied the right degree.

I just thrive on it. After studying the nutrition units, I just knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. That’s where my passion lies.

Apply now to study Health Science.