Karen community guide Wah Heh, Kaye Graves and Julia Stoneham.

The publication of a new Karen Healthy Eating Pictorial Guide hopes to improve the health and wellbeing of refugee communities in Bendigo.

The translated guide was developed through a partnership between Bendigo Community Health Services and Diabetes Victoria with support from the Karen community.

Bendigo Community Health Services manager Kaye Graves said the Karen Healthy Eating Pictorial Guide was important because of the easy access to large quantities of Western food.

“Some of these foods, particularly the packaged ones, are high in fats and are generally unhealthy, so we saw a real need for education about the dangers they present,” Ms Graves said.

The Bendigo Karen community played a large role in creating the guide and provided feedback at every stage in community consultation sessions.

Diabetes Victoria Health Promotion Officer Julia Stoneham said the resource encourages healthy eating behaviours.

“The pictorial guide is written in Karen and includes culturally specific tips and images about portion sizes, healthy swaps and sample meal plans,” Ms Stoneham said.

It is hoped the Karen Healthy Eating Pictorial Guide will be used by maternal and child health nurses, dieticians, doctors and the Bendigo community to enable a better understanding of healthy eating.