Healthy Youngsters, Healthy Dads program developer Professor Phil Morgan, has a long history of developing family-based health programs, dating back to 2007 when he developed the Healthy Dads Healthy Kids (HDHK) program. HDHK helps fathers become role models for positive lifestyle behaviours using effective parenting strategies to improve the physical activity and dietary behaviours of both themselves and their primary school aged kids.
HDHK has been delivered to over 500 families (>1000 children) in the Hunter Region; has been adapted and delivered to families in the UK and USA. HDHK has won numerous prestigious awards including a 2014 Excellence in Obesity Prevention Award from the World Health Organisation’s Collaboration on Obesity Prevention.
The principles of HDHK are founded on extensive research by Prof. Morgan that shows the eating habits and physical activity patterns of fathers and father-figures influence the ways in which the whole family approaches their health. Further research highlights early childhood as a critical period in achieving optimal development for future health and wellbeing. In addition, childhood obesity is known to track throughout life and poor lifestyle behaviours can be entrenched at a very young age.
With generous funding from the Rotary Club of Newcastle in 2016 and the Greater Charitable Foundation in 2017, the Healthy Youngsters Healthy Dads (HYHD) program was born.
Over a three year period from late 2017, Prof Morgan and his team will design, evaluate then deliver the HYHD program to over 200 dads and their pre-school aged children in the Newcastle region. The HYHD program was developed and tested during a feasibility trial at the University of Newcastle. The program will now be evaluated under rigorous randomised controlled trial conditions during the next phase of the research in 2019.