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Healthy Beginnings

Meets DHHS criteria for an evidenced based model

Program Model Overview

Last Updated

June 2015

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Theoretical Model

Healthy Beginnings was designed to prevent children from becoming overweight and obese. The program drew on research demonstrating the link between being overweight and obese during childhood and immediate and long-term adverse health and social-emotional effects. Recognizing that a child’s environment influences nutrition and physical activity, the program used a family-focused approach to address risk factors associated with childhood obesity.

The model emphasized the following messages:

  • “Breast is best”
  • “No solids for me until 6 months”
  • “I eat a variety of fruit and vegetables everyday”
  • “Only water in my cup”
  • “I am part of an active family”
  • “TV away let’s go play”

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Program Model Components

In Healthy Beginnings, nurses provided home visits to first-time mothers with newborns. Nurse home visitors addressed the following topics during each visit: infant nutrition and physical activity, family nutrition and physical activity, and family social support. Using questions tailored to the child’s age, the nurses initiated discussions and provided information on topics listed in a visit checklist. The home visitors offered referrals if the family had questions or concerns unrelated to the discussion topics. Telephone support was available between visits.

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Target Population

Healthy Beginnings targeted first-time mothers of infants from socially and economically disadvantaged areas of South Western Sydney.

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Where to Find Out More

Li Ming Wen, M.D., M.Med., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney
Research and Evaluation Manager, Sydney Local Health District Health Promotion Service
Phone: (612) 9505 9055
Email: liming.wen@sydney.edu.au, lmwen@email.cs.nsw.gov.au, or Health.Promotion@sswahs.nsw.gov.au
Website: http://www.sswahs.nsw.gov.au/populationhealth/healthy_beginnings.html, or http://www.healthybeginnings.net.au/

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