Over the past five years the Center of Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University have been running trials to test the efficacy of interventions to promote healthy eating and active play right from the start of life. This program of work is known as the The Infant Feeding Activity and Nutrition Trials (Infant Programs)
Why early intervention for healthy eating?
As you know, early intervention to promote healthy lifestyle is vital. Our Infant Program work has shown that dietary patterns at 9 months of age are already poor and that they are reflected in dietary patterns at 18 months of age – this means diet tracks. While we’ve known for a while that children’s dietary patterns predict their diet as adults, our research is internationally unique in showing the importance of infancy. Early intervention to set healthy dietary and physical activity trajectories is fundamentally important to achieving the best life outcomes for our kids. We also know that mother’s confidence to promote healthy eating and reduce screen time decreases as their kids get older – and that this is related to poorer diet and more screen time. The combination of these factors provides us with great motivation to help parents in this early phase of children’s lives!
The Infant Program Studies
We have two studies running – the Award Winning Infant Program , which ran from 3 months to 18 months of age and involved 542 families across Melbourne. The results of that study showed improved child diet and sedentary behaviours at 18 months of age and also improved parent’s diet. These children are now being reassessed, with no further intervention at ages 3.5 and 5 years.
Our second study is the Infant Extend study in which we’re continuing the intervention across the challenging toddler years, until children are 3 years of age. We have funding to provide a simple mail based intervention once the group based Infant Program finishes at 18 months. But we want to do more! We’re hoping to expand our intervention (while keeping it low cost and translatable), by developing a suite of 18 video clips to support parents to get healthy eating and active play right from the start of life. These clips will build on our existing free, evidence based and independent which forms one part of our National Health and Medical Research Council and World Cancer Research Funded Infant Program interventions.
We need your help!
So here’s the thing. We need money to do this – and we’re being very experimental! We’re currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise the $12,500 we need to film and edit these high quality video clips. While crowdfunding has been very successfully used by the Arts to raise funds, this is one of the first attempts to raise funds to support research – and we’re hoping you can help us to make this happen!
We’re doing OK – but we need your help. We’ve raised about $4000 so far, and have 15 days to go! It’s all or nothing on June 17th and time is running out!
Please support us in our mission to help all parents get healthy eating and active play embedded from the start of life by:
– Visiting our crowdfunding site to learn more. Once on the website, please click Like Us, and Share which will allow you to spread the word through your social media networks. Crowdfunding needs a crowd!
– Joining me on to keep abreast of our work in health promotion and early life interventions – and retweet our tweets.
– Telling others who may be interested in early childhood health (e.g. parents) about our call for help.
Thanks for reading through all of this and lending your support where you can.
Associate Professor, Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Deakin University, Victoria