Support for families and children could look very different within five years, thanks to the Victorian Government’s new five-year action plan, in which INFANT is included as a priority action.
The five-year action plan ‘Healthy kids, healthy futures’ aims to support Victorian children and young people to be healthy, active and well by creating supportive environments for healthy eating, active living and mental wellbeing. This support is crucial for paving the way for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The INFANT team from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University endorse and commend the Victorian Government for this important five-year action plan focussing much needed support for early childhood health and wellbeing.
Associate Professor Rachel Laws, from IPAN, said ‘Healthy Kids Healthy Futures’ provides concrete actions to help ensure every family everywhere can raise healthy happy children, laying the foundation for lifelong health and well-being. This fits very well with the aims of the INFANT program included as a priority action in the plan’.
INFANT is designed to support parents with establishing healthy eating and active play habits from the start of life – setting parents up with the appropriate tools and information from the beginning of their child’s life. By prioritising prevention, the demand and costs for health services later in life can be avoided.
INFANT consists of four group sessions that encourage social connection between parents and caregivers as they navigate their way through their parenting journey. INFANT group sessions are complemented by an app, called My Baby Now. The sessions, delivered by local facilitators, such as healthcare practitioners, are held when babies are around 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of age, and aim to give families credible, trusted information to establish positive lifestyle behaviours from the start of life.
The INFANT group sessions cover topics such as introducing solids, food refusal and fussy eating, tummy time, active play ideas and the role that parent wellbeing plays in your baby’s life. The complementary My Baby Now app is a free resource, full of practical, tailored advice and tips on feeding and active play with your baby.
“You’re learning so much as a new mum, something is different each week. I love having sessions like this, any chance to learn because there is so much conflicting information out there.”
– INFANT Parent
The evaluation of the INFANT scale-up is funded by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Grant (GNT1161223 2019-24) and VicHealth. Deakin University gratefully acknowledges the Victorian Department of Health for additional funding to enhance the implementation of INFANT across Victoria in 2020-22.