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BMC Public Health. 2009 Sep 18;9:345. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-345.

Developing an award program for children's settings to support healthy eating and physical activity and reduce the risk of overweight and obesity.

Author information

  • 1Kids - 'Go for your life', Diabetes Australia - Vic and Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. suzy.honisett@cancervic.org.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This paper aimed to identify the best way to engage, motivate and support early childhood services (ECS) and primary schools (PS) to create policy and practise changes to promote healthy eating and physical activity. This information would be used to develop a suitable program to implement within these children's settings to reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity.

METHODS:

The Medical Research Council's (UK) framework for the design and evaluation of complex interventions was used to guide the development of the healthy eating and physical activity program suitable for ECS and PS. Within this framework a range of evaluation methods, including stakeholder planning, in-depth interviews with ECS and PS staff and acceptability and feasibility trials in one local government area, were used to ascertain the best way to engage and support positive changes in these children's settings.

RESULTS:

Both ECS and PS identified that they had a role to play to improve children's healthy eating and physical activity. ECS identified their role in promoting healthy eating and physical activity as important for children's health, and instilling healthy habits for life. PS felt that these were health issues, rather than educational issues; however, schools saw the link between healthy eating and physical activity and student learning outcomes. These settings identified that a program that provides a simple guide that recognises good practise in these settings, such as an award scheme using a health promoting schools approach, as a feasible and acceptable way for them to support children's healthy eating and physical activity.

CONCLUSION:

Through the process of design and evaluation a program - Kids - 'Go for your life', was developed to promote and support children's healthy eating and physical activity and reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity. Kids - 'Go for your life' used an award program, based on a health promoting schools approach, which was demonstrated to be a suitable model to engage ECS and PS and was acceptable and feasible to create policy and practise changes to support healthy eating and physical activity for children.

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