Healthy Eating & Active Living

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"Let’s Talk Sugar” - Early Childhood Resource

Background

The Inner East Primary Care Partnership (IEPCP) developed the "Let's Talk Sugar" resource in consultation with Maternal Child Health (MCH) Nurses across the Inner and Outer East of Melbourne.

Three Inner East Councils participated in the six week pilot rollout in 2021 to test the brochure with parents/caregivers. Helpful feedback was received which expanded the resource into an A1 poster to be displayed at MCH offices and waiting rooms to reinforce the key messages and branding.

Healthy Eating in Early Childhood

Early childhood is an ideal period to shape healthy food preferences and dietary habits to prevent development of chronic disease during childhood and across the lifespan. Children should have the fundamental right to thrive in school and beyond, and the energy to play and learn because of the healthy eating experiences they have had in early life.

Values-Based Messaging

A public health communications framework known as values-based messaging (VBM), was used to guide the content for this resource. VBM aims to engage people around values that resonate, as opposed to trying to persuade with just facts and or data, in order to motivate behaviour change. This includes a focus on the ‘system’ that is contributing to poor health.

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) launched the ‘kids are sweet enough’ campaign which aims to protect the youngest consumers by lobbying for government to set higher standards for the composition, labelling and promotion of infant and toddler foods.

The “Let’s Talk Sugar” resource also targets the food ‘system’ that can lead to poor health, by raising awareness of sugars that are added or not easily recognised, in the production of infant and toddler foods.

Using the Resource

This resource has been designed with and for MCH Services and is freely downloadable. It is intended that the resource will be used in other early years settings in the future.

This resource is still very new and we expect this to evolve over time with new evidence and healthy solutions to support parents/caregivers make informed choices when faced with selecting packaged foods for infants/toddlers. Ultimately, we would like the environment and food manufacturing system to improve so healthy choices are easy to make. We always encourage as first choice to select fresh unprocessed foods and tap water.

IEPCP would like to thank the MCH Nurses at City of Boroondara, Manningham Council and City of Whitehorse for participating in the pilot roll out and continuing this collaborative journey together.

Resource: "Let’s Talk Sugar”

Resource: "Let’s Talk Sugar”

Obesity Policy Coalition: ‘Kids are sweet enough’ campaign

Let's Talk Sugar