Nutrition experts launch online registry of resources to boost veggie intake in childhood
Nutrition experts from South Australia’s Flinders University have contributed to a newly launched online registry of resources that aims to help boost vegetable consumption in Australian children.
The searchable website features projects, programs and research that can be used by a variety of professionals who work with children to support children’s vegetable intake.
The registry is one of the first achievements of the five-year, $4 million VegKit project, which brings together a large program of work to address the significant issue of underconsumption of vegetables in children.
It is estimated that 95 per cent of Australian children aged between two and six years are not eating adequate amounts of vegetables.
Nutrition Australia, which led the development of the online vegetable resource registry component, says the project was designed as an easy-to-use, approachable and credible source of inspiration.
Lucinda Hancock, Nutrition Australia CEO, said the registry aims to increase vegetable consumption by supporting those who work with children to implement projects and initiatives or upload their own work for others to see.
“Working together with community and public health workers, educators, organisations and researchers means we can expand the impact of VegKit and improve the likelihood of addressing the issue,” Ms Hancock said.
The overarching goal of the project is to increase the reach of contributors’ work and motivate others in the child and public health settings to use the resources to put into place their own projects to improve vegetable consumption of children.
The team at Flinders University led the development of the Global Rating Assessment Tool which enables all submitted resources to be reviewed for effectiveness and alignment the Best Practice Guidelines for Increasing Vegetable Consumption in Children.
Flinders researcher Rebecca Golley, a nationally recognised expert in childhood obesity and nutrition promotion, said the assessment tool was just one aspect of VegKit.
To progress the work, Flinders is collaborating with international experts as well as health, child development and education professionals to look for opportunities to foster a liking and acceptance of vegetables right from when children start to eat, Associate Professor Golley said.
“We are also working with industry (sic.) partners to explore novel food service models to overcome common barriers to supporting kids to eat plenty of vegetables in childcare,” she added.
She said the VegKit is a trusted and reviewed “wealth of knowledge” which provides a suite of practical tools, programs and initiatives for educators and health care professionals to promote veggie consumption in key settings such as long day care centres and schools.
“We need to make eating vegetables a greater focus for Aussie kids by making veggies available and the easy choice across the day,” Associate Professor Golley continued.
Research institutions, community, public health and not-for-profit organisations, and early and primary education providers are encouraged to upload their own vegetable consumption initiatives to the registry to boost examples of best practice, and share ideas.
The VegKit may be accessed here.