Healthy Youngsters, Healthy Dads program launches in Newcastle
1 November 2017
A WORLD-first family health program targeting fathers and their preschool-aged children will launch in Newcastle on Wednesday in a bid to cut childhood obesity.
“Obesity, once established, is very difficult to change, and prevention is such a key thing,” Professor Philip Morgan, who is leading the University of Newcastle study, said.
“Nationally, 25-to-30 per cent of kids are considered overweight or obese. Our research has shown that fathers play a really important, but often under-recognised role in improving their children’s health habits.”
The Healthy Youngsters, Healthy Dads study aims to teach dads evidence-based parenting strategies to improve family eating and physical activity behaviours.
It is the first family health program to target fathers and their preschool-aged children.
“In Australia, 99 per cent of two-to-four-year-old children have insufficient fruit and vegetable intake and about 80 per cent are not meeting physical activity and screen time recommendations,” he said.
“Teaching fathers and children how to adopt healthy eating and physical activity habits has great potential to improve quality of life in families.”
Tighes Hill dad Aaron Satchell thought the program would be a good opportunity to bond with his kids while they learned about healthy habits.
“I think it’s important to have that one-on-one time with your kids,” he said.
“I thought it would be good for me as a parent, and also good for the kids to learn all of those important things from a young age.”
Register for the program on 4921 6566.
Of 215 parenting programs targeting physical activity and nutrition, or obesity prevention, the only two programs in the world that directly involved fathers were Newcastle-based studies, Professor Morgan said.