UQ produces digital toolkit for ECEC centering on food and nutrition
Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) have been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Australian Government Department of Health to produce a digital toolkit for early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals, parents and families to ensure children have access to nutritious food.
Targeting those who work with or care for children under five years of age, the toolkit aims to work in partnership with ECEC and families to co-create resources to amplify messages about the importance of healthy and nutritious food for the under-five age group UQ researcher Professor Helen Truby said.
The project will have a particular focus on creating new culturally appropriate resources for non-English speaking families and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, which will be developed in collaboration with community members, she added.
Researchers hope that the collaborative approach will have a strong impact on the health trajectory of all children in Australia and help to give them the best nutritional start in life.
“The first five years of a child’s life is a time of rapid growth and brain development, which are heavily influenced by diet,” the Professor explained.
Resources created through the project will be free to access, and will be specifically developed to fill current gaps and address the tailored needs of these underserved communities, she added.
“In addition, a free open access short course will be offered to upskill users on how to apply the different tools in their practice and in child eating and behavioural change.”
Dr Jacki Walker and Dr Clare Dix from UQ’s School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences join Professor Truby on the project’s research team. More information about their work may be found here.