Families with young children

Stream 2 Oct2015

A sample of the Stream 1 Team. Left to right back: Georgie Russell, Karen Campbell, Elizabeth Denney-Wilson, Rachel Laws; front: Sarah Taki, Jessica Appleton, Annalie Houston

Key Messages

  • Risk factors for obesity begin early in life and early intervention is crucial
  • Behaviours that are associated with obesity can become established in early life and may track into adolescence and adulthood
  • Families with young children have frequent visits to primary health care-both General Practice and Child and Family nurses-making them ideally placed to offer support and advice to parents

Study Aims

This study aimed to provide important new information about the effectiveness of a novel m-health intervention delivered through primary health care on nutrition and obesity risk in low socio-economic status and indigenous families. Specifically, the aims were to:

  1. Develop a mobile phone/web based program that targets infant feeding practices tailored to the needs of socioeconomically disadvantaged families;
  2. Assess the feasibility of practitioners referring parents to the program and reinforcing key messages as part of routine baby health checks;
  3. Assess the effectiveness of the program in terms of its reach, use, acceptability, cost and impact on key infant nutrition and feeding outcomes.

Overview of the Stream 2 Growing healthy project

1. Research to inform the Growing healthy intervention

1a. Systematic review of strategies for promoting healthy weight in infants in PHC. Click here.

1b. Narrative review of parental beliefs and practices around child weight. Click here.

2. The Growing healthy intervention

Growing healthy is the mobile phone based (m-health) intervention targeting healthy infant feeding practices in the first year of life, tailored to the needs of disadvantaged families. The Growing healthy website can be accessed here.

Growing healthy evaluation

The protocol for evaluating Growing healthy has been published and is accessbile here.

This evaluation uses a non-randomised quasi-experimental desigh and had two methods of data collection:

2a. Parent qualitative interviews: to explore the beliefs and behaviours of socioeconomically disadvantaged mothers. Click here.

2b. Practitioner survey and qualitative interviews: to examine the extent to which nurses addressed healthy infant feeding practices, healthy eating, active play and limiting sedentary behaviour during routine consultations with parents of young children aged 0-5 years. Click here


Two sub-studies of Growing healthy were conducted as part of student postgraduate study:

2c. Engaging disadvantaged mothers through mHealth to encourage infant feeding behaviours that promote healthy weight gain (PhD study). Click here.

2d. Growing healthy in Inala (Masters project). Click here.

Growing Healthy newsletter

The latest issue of the Growing Healthy newsletter is now out and is available here.

For more information

Visit the Growing healthy Website or contact Associate Professor Elizabeth Denney-Wilson, Stream 1 leader: Elizabeth.Denney-Wilson@uts.edu.au