The overarching mission of the ‘Healthy Youngsters Healthy Dads’ (HYHD) research project is to design, implement and evaluate a world first, practical and life-changing initiative to improve life outcomes for families and make a meaningful difference in communities.

The program was developed in 2017 with generous support from the Greater Charitable Foundation, Hunter Medical Research Institute, and Rotary Club of Newcastle. 

HYHD Pilot Program – 2018

The pilot feasibility trial of the HYHD research saw the development and evaluation of the program with 25 dads and youngsters at the University of Newcastle.

Impressive preliminary results were achieved, including:

  • 86% attendance over the 8-week program, which is an outstanding result for a community-based research program 
  • 100% of the participants agreed that the sessions were enjoyable and that the practical activities were appropriate for dads and their youngsters
  • More than 90% of the participants also believed their youngsters improved their sport skills as a result of the program

HYHD Randomised Controlled Trial – 2019

The next phase of our research will deliver a randomised controlled trial (RCT) at the University of Newcastle to test the effectiveness of the program. 120 dads and their pre-school aged youngsters will be recruited from the Newcastle region and randomly allocated to a HYHD group or a control group (who will receive the program after the study).

Our researchers will assess the impact of the program on a number of measures including dads and youngsters physical activity levels, dietary behaviours and weight status; dads parenting practices and youngsters sport skills and social-emotional wellbeing.

HYHD Community Roll-out – 2019-2020

The HYHD program will be rolled out in Newcastle community to approximately 50 families from late 2019. Local facilitators will be trained to deliver the programs, while the University will oversee recruitment, training, general coordination and evaluation. This phase will allow us to test the real-world effectiveness of the program.

The HYHD program aims to:

  • Improve the physical activity levels, dietary behaviours and weight status of dads and preschool children
  • Motivate fathers to engage with their children and be a healthy role model for their families
  • Provide families with evidence-based parenting strategies to optimise their children’s nutrition, activity levels, sport skills, and social-emotional wellbeing

What’s unique about HYHD?

  • HYHD is the only program internationally delivering father-focused programs to improve pre-school aged children’s physical activity and dietary behaviours
  • Based on rigorous research and over 10 years experience delivering multi-award winning heath programs in the Newcastle community
  • Provides the latest evidence-based information in physical activity, sport skills, nutrition and parenting to maximise your family’s health
  • Fathers and children are both targeted as agents of behaviour change in their families
  • Both fathers and children are taught how to adopt and role model healthy eating and physical activity habits, which is essential to break the cycle of intergenerational obesity and improve quality of life in families and communities


We are looking for dads and their youngsters

Are you a dad who wants to spend quality time with your child participating in fun physical activities, whilst learning how to improve their sport skills, health and wellbeing…along with your own?

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