From research to reality: The experience of translating the Infant Feeding, Activity and Nutrition Trial (InFANT) for community wide implementation

Author: 
Rachel Laws
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Program: 
Stream 1 Families with young children
Year: 
2015

Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne, 16-18 October 2015

Presentation slides are available here.

Background

Effective interventions need to be scaled up and delivered as part of a multi-faceted approach to achieve population health impact. In Victoria this is reflected in a complex systems approach to prevention. This study aims to explore the experience of disseminating The Infant Program into routine practice in local government areas in Victoria as part of Healthy Together Victoria. 

Methods

Case studies were conducted of five local government areas in Victoria, Australia who had been implementing the program for six months or more. Data were collected from January to June 2015 and included 18 individual interviews, one focus group and observation of two meetings.  A total of 28 individuals, including research staff (n=4), policy makers (n=2) and implementers (n=22), contributed to the data collected.  Thematic analysis was conducted using cross case comparisons and key themes were verified through member checking.

Results/discussions

Pre-packaged evidence-based programs were highly valued by practitioners and the Infant Program filled an important gap by addressing lifestyle behaviours promoting healthy weight in children under 2 years. There was a tension between program adaption to suit the local context and maintaining program fidelity. Program malleability will be important for continued successful engagement. Engaging key partners and embedding the program into existing roles and service delivery structures will be key to program sustainability. Implementing the program in the real world was perceived to result in broader positive impacts beyond those measured in the original research trial.

Conclusions/implications

This study provides unique insights into the process by which research interventions are scaled up and implemented in real world public health practice, offering valuable information for researchers, practitioners and policy makers.

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