Helping children move well, eat well

Child

A new program to help Tasmanian children develop healthy lifestyle behaviours for life was launched on 26 February 2013.

Tasmania's Move Well Eat Well - Early Childhood Award Program will help early childhood services promote healthy eating and physical activity.

The Move Well Eat Well - Early Childhood Award Program provides a framework and resources to help early childhood services make healthy eating and physical activity a positive and normal part of every day, for every child.

Early childhood education and care services across Tasmania were invited to become members of the program last year with uptake immediate and enthusiastic.

Already 90 early childhood services, including long day care, family day care and kindergartens, have become members and received on-site training and locally-developed resources.

These services are making changes that encourage and normalise healthy eating and active play through changes to policies, practices and set-up.

Social changes over the years have led to a significant increase in unhealthy eating and a decline in physical activity - as a result, serious and largely preventable chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes and heart disease are on the rise.

To turn this around, it is vital children develop healthy behaviours for life, and healthy choices are made easy and desired in the places Tasmanians live, work, learn and play.

The Move Well Eat Well - Early Childhood Award Program is funded through the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health (NPAPH), a joint Australian, State and Territory Government initiative.

The NPAPH aims to reduce the rate of lifestyle-related chronic disease like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and some forms of cancer and arthritis.

Experts estimate chronic disease causes around 80 per cent of the total burden of disease in Australia and its impact on individuals, families, communities, workplaces and the economy is huge.

The NPAPH provides nearly $489 million to states and territories, on a per capita basis, over nine years or up to $642 million including reward payments.

The Department of Health and Human Services adapted Move Well Eat Well - Early Childhood Award Program from Victoria's Kids - 'Go for your life' Award Program in partnership with the local early childhood sector.

It complements the successful Move Well Eat Well - Primary School Award Program, which has 116 member schools across Tasmania, and the National Quality Framework.

So far, two early childhood services have achieved Move Well Eat Well - Early Childhood Awards: Stewart Child Care Services (Launceston) and Giggles Early Learning (Smithton).

Award recipient, Stewart Child Care Service CEO Lyn Woolley said achieving their Move Well Eat Well Award had been a joint effort by staff, children and families.

"We are very proud to be rewarded for the special effort we make with our children to encourage a healthy and active day for each child," Mrs Woolley said.

"The real winners out of this are the children of our service.

"For our children, healthy eating and being active are simply normal and fun parts of everyday life, and this is setting them up to grow and learn well, and to be healthy into the future."

Particular actions undertaken at Stewart Child Care Service supporting the Move Well Eat Well criteria include:

           a review of the daily menus for children with advice from a community dietitian

           more fruit and vegetables, with both offered at meals and snack times

           water only for children to drink

           information for families

              a new nature playground, providing children with a challenging physical space to explore, dig, slide and roll.

More information about Move Well Eat Well is available at www.movewelleatwell.tas.gov.au

 26 February 2013