Healthy Beginnings was a demonstration project designed by researchers from Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health Districts Health Promotion Service and the University of Sydney, in Australia. It was implemented from 2007 to 2010.
Implementing Healthy Beginnings
Last updated: June 2015
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’
Healthy Beginnings targeted first-time mothers of infants from socially and economically disadvantaged areas of South Western Sydney.
The model aimed to prevent childhood obesity by improving child and family eating patterns, reducing sedentary activities such as television viewing, and increasing physical activity.
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.
Model Intensity and Length
Families received eight home visits at the following stages: the prenatal period, and at 1, 3, 5, 8, 12, 18, and 24 months. Each visit ranged in length from 45 to 90 minutes. The visits were designed to coincide with early childhood developmental milestones related to feeding practices, nutrition and physical activity, and parent-child interactions.
The information contained on this page was last updated in June 2015. Recommended Further Reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, Dr. Li Ming Wen at the Sydney Local Health District Health Promotion Service reviewed the information contained in this profile for accuracy on May 20, 2015. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.