Have Fun Be Healthy Project
What should I give my child to eat?
Making healthy food choices can be challenging for parents, especially when we are bombarded with foods that are loaded with sugar and saturated fats. Helping your child to learn how to live a healthy and active lifestyle is one of the most important things you can do to ensure they grow up to be healthy adults. It’s never too early to start!
Childhood obesity has become a global epidemic and unfortunately Australian children are no exception. A recent study found 19% to 24% of school age children in Australia are overweight or obese; these rates are among the highest in the world. In addition, some Australian children are not receiving the daily recommendation of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they need to help them grow up healthy and happy.
Playgroup Queensland has a program called Have Fun - Be Healthy:
This program focuses on nutrition and fun physical activities for families with babies and young children under school age. This includes cooking and physical play sessions for families in selected Queensland areas.
The Have Fun - Be Healthy project is supported by Queensland Health and will be guided by expert staff from Nutrition Australia, Queensland Department of Sport and Recreation and Queensland Health.
Have Fun - Be Healthy Tips:
- Sit down and eat with your child
- Breastfeed your child exclusively for the first 6 months (appropriate solids may then be introduced in addition to continued breastfeeding to at least 12 months)
- Do not provide young children with soft drink, cordial, energy drinks, sugary juices, or sports drinks.
- Low fat foods are not suitable for young children
- Choose foods low in salt
- Limit the amount of time your child spends watching television and playing electronic games
- Encourage physical play
- Children learn from their parents so get active and make healthy food choices!
(Queensland Health. (2001) Information Circular. http://www.health.qld.gov.au/publications/infocirc/11229.pdf)
What some of our Have Fun – Be Healthy Playgroups are saying….
One group has been so inspired by the cooking activities they have decided to create their own recipe book with their cultural favourites. They have asked their facilitators to help them swap unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones and they will title their recipe book after their playgroup name.
The children have enjoyed the new or reinvented activities and our staff are enjoying facilitating the new program.
The physical activity sessions have been well received
Word has gotten out about Have Fun – Be Healthy being enjoyed by the Playgroup and attendance numbers has increased.
Parents have noticed a positive change in their children, and each session the kids are keen to unpack and set up asking what the task is. It is so much fun to be interacting with the kids, and to hear the laughter. Everyone is happy to try all activities, and it's great because the kids settle after and are happy to have a quiet morning tea.
Parents now bring fruit to share or some even bring recipes that they have made at home from the Have Fun- Be Health recipes. We’ve had parents make the pikelets at home and bring them in to share. It was really amazing to me to see that they have made these Playgroup recipes at home. I think the parents feel more confident about their ability to feed their children and they know more options of healthy choices. They feel proud to share with the group.
For morning tea I always ask parents to bring a piece of fruit or something healthy but usually they bring sweets from the bakery, chips or chocolate bikkies and something and I noticed more parents bringing fruit now and usually the kids want to eat the unhealthy foods instead but it’s different now. I also have heard parents say “No don’t eat that it’s not healthy, eat your fruit.” The first time I ever heard that was after the HFBH project. I think the parents became more aware of what else their kids can eat besides junk food. Some parents are bringing other healthy food besides fruit like bread with vegemite and cheese slices, popcorn. They are able now to look outside of just fruit and know other healthy options
For More information on this project contact Playgroup Queensland on 1800 171 882.