Kids on Track was developed to help prevent obesity in young children from Birmingham’s priority wards. Local research identified the most influential people on children’s eating habits are their primary care givers – generally the mother or father – and so Kids on Track targets those primary carers who not only have the greatest influence on the children but also the wider family as it is likely they would be most involved in meal planning and food preparation.
The local research revealed a key insight – that primary carers needed support with how they could practically manage their child’s weight. Most people are aware of healthy / unhealthy foods, the importance of regular physical activity and the Change 4 Life messaging. Despite this they lacked the confidence and knowledge to take control and improve their child’s eating habits.
To address this, Kids on Track aims to support parents with not only the information but the practical skills to effectively manage their childrens eating habits. To prevent bombarding parents with information, the programme focuses on managing the quantity of food consumed by children. By quantity of food, we mean the importance of correct portion sizing and appropriate number of eating occasions – 3 main meals and 2 snacks which links directly to two of the seven key Startwell messages –
The importance of physical activity and recognition of healthy / less healthy foods is also built into the programme.
Kids on Track has been enthusiastically received by local Childrens Centres and Health Visiting teams and has been viewed as a new approach for delivery healthy eating messages. Kids on Track is aimed at parents of children aged 3-4 years of age and delivered through two non-consecutive hour-long workshops, the first of which offers clear and simple information which is easy to understand and more importantly easy to remember! Taking into account how difficult it can be to make changes to eating habits, along with the information parents are also provided with effective practical tools to support implementation of these changes.
The second workshop takes place a few weeks after the first workshop is completed and provides the opportunity for parents to share their experiences of implementing change. This is also an opportunity to ask any additional questions and continue to improve their confidence to take control of their child’s eating habits.
Kids on Track will be available at a Children’s Centre in your local area. For a list of local Children’s Centre’s visit http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/childrens-centres