$1.2m to fuel brain development in under fives

A digital toolkit for early childcare workers, parents and families designed to ensure nutritious food is provided to children under five is being developed by University of Queensland researchers.

Professor Helen Truby from UQ’s School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences said the project had been awarded $1.2 million over three years from the Australian Government Department of Health, under the Public Health and Chronic Disease Grant Program.

“This grant will enable us to work with early childhood educators and families to co-create resources to amplify messages about the importance of healthy and nutritious food for the under-five age group,” Professor Truby said.

“A particular focus will be 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.

“By working together, we can impact 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.

Nutritious Tools will have a suite of resources that support early childhood and nutrition education and will be free to access.

“Resources will be specifically developed to fill current gaps and address the tailored needs of these underserved communities,” said Professor Truby (pictured).

“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.