Simple steps are all that’s needed to safeguard children’s health and wellbeing
The University of Notre Dame Sydney, and health food company, Sanitarium, have collaborated to produce a report summarising research suggesting that practical and achievable approaches can safeguard children’s wellbeing.
The Little People, Big Lives study was lead by researchers at the University, who examined the latest evidence based recommendations for optimal child development. Through their analysis of key ‘21st century threats to children’s health and wellbeing’ and the latest evidence-based recommendations, the report provides families and early childhood education and care (ECEC) practitioners with five areas of priority action:
- Active play
- Healthy eating and drinking
- Healthy sleep
- Positive screen time
- Safety, security, love and belonging.
Sanitarium emphasised its desire to make the research practical and achievable, announcing a partnership with actress, Ada Nicodemou, to support the company in sharing the research findings and support children to realise their ‘happy, healthy potential’.
Sanitarium said it hopes the wholistic health principles outlined in the report “spark a vital conversation about what is really important – little things which make a big difference to lifetime health outcomes”.
Lead researcher on the report, Professor Christine Bennett AO, is a specialist paediatrician with over 30 years of experience in clinical care, strategic planning, business operations, and senior management in public, private and not for profit sectors.
In reflecting on the reports findings, Professor Bennett said “To combat the emerging threats facing Aussie kids including obesity, type 2 diabetes and mental health issues, we need to take a holistic view on our health. It’s not about ‘quick fix solutions’, but rather going back to basics. Healthy eating and physical activity are important, but there’s more we need for a healthy start to life.”
Professor Bennett emphasised the importance of children spending time without technology, encouraging educators and families to make time to eat together, without technology present, as well as to play, sing, dance and read, saying that such activities were “critical” to childhood.
“I think many parents will be interested to know these simple activities have the potential to be powerful contributors to their child’s physical health and emotional wellbeing,” Professor Bennett said.
The report is available to read in full here.