Development and rural pilot of a Perinatal Healthy Lifestyle web-based support network for parents and providers
The antenatal and early post-natal period represents a time when parents (particularly mothers) may be receptive to changing their lifestyles for the sake of their child. Food, meal and activity patterns introduced by parents during pregnancy and early years of their child’s development can shape preferences and habits that are retained into adulthood. The project aimed to develop, implement and evaluate a pilot project to strengthen cross sector collaboration to engage parents in the prevention of overweight in young children and to ensure consistent messages for parents during the perinatal period (pre-birth to one year).
The project built on the Healthway funded Starting Childhood Obesity Prevention Earlier (SCOPE) project, through co-funding from the WA Department of Health. The core Healthway funded project was aimed at developing a research intervention with parents and perinatal health care providers in two metropolitan locations. This grant provided additional funds for program elements that disseminated the intervention to a regional area and supported the development of an appropriate parent and professional information website. The project scope was identified through evidence review and consultation process with key government and non-government stakeholders, including relevant sections of the Department of Health, Child and Adolescent Health Services, WA Country Health Service and the Child and Youth Network.
The overall project was consistent with the Department’s strategic objectives and progressed the strategic objectives of the WA Health Promotion Strategic Framework 2007-11 and the National Preventative Health Strategy (2009), by:
- Providing pregnant women and newly born mother receive information, education and support to prevent lifestyle risks of excessive weight and poor nutrition; and
- Providing consistent and clear information to parents to support them to establish appropriate eating and physical activity patterns in children and to better understand the risks of unhealthy weight in early life through targeted interventions for parents.
The primary target groups of the project was parents and families, particularly pregnant women and those with young children up to one year of age, with emphasis on regional areas and those living in low socioeconomic circumstances. The secondary target group will be health professionals and service providers for the prenatal and postnatal period.
The project output was the Healthy You, Healthy Baby Smartphone App and online resource hosted by the Ngala Early Parenting and Early Childhood support service, with emphasis on the importance of parental role modelling and interactive user self-assessment. This quality assured online resource provides tailored messages to antenatal and postnatal mothers. Users can register to receive e-newsletters and a Smartphone App targeting the mother’s lifestyles and tailored to the developmental stage of their child. The website and App provide practical advice and support for parents and health professionals and can be tailored to the requirements of an individual user. The project’s effectiveness will be evaluated using Google Analytics and online surveys. Western Australian antenatal service providers will refer parents to the online resource for practical advice and information. The project was the outcome of formative research in regional areas, as well as the piloting and evaluation of the website in these locations.
WA Department of Health
For further information about this project please contact Dr Lydia Hearn at firstname.lastname@example.org