Researchers from the University of Newcastle are leading a world-first study which builds on new knowledge that children are most likely to be guided by a father’s eating and exercise habits.
The ‘Healthy Dads Healthy Kids’ study, led by Associate Professor Philip Morgan from the University’s Faculty of Education and Arts, is designed to help fathers promote and demonstrate to their children positive behaviours related to physical activity and healthy eating.
"A recent Australian study* showed that children are more likely to follow the example set by their father than their mother when it comes to eating and exercise," Associate Professor Morgan said.
"Fathers influence the food and physical activity habits in the home through their behaviours, attitudes and approach to food and eating, and act as a role model to their children.
"The major aim of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of a program designed to help dads lose some weight and keep it off.
"Dads will learn the latest information on how to lose weight and still enjoy an occasional beer. Children will join in two sessions with their dads and will also be involved in a number of fun activities to develop their fundamental movement skills, such as throwing and catching a ball."
Researchers are inviting Hunter fathers who would like to shed some extra kilos to join the study.
Participation involves attending eight sessions at the University of Newcastle over six months where the men will receive information, have weight-related measurements recorded and complete questionnaires.
Fathers aged between 21 and 60 with a primary school aged child (5 to 12 years) who are interested in participating in the project can contact Associate Professor Morgan on 4921 7265 or James Bray on 4921 6158 for more information.
This study is funded by a Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Grant from the Gastronomic Lunch of the Year, held in May 2008.
Associate Professor Morgan works in collaboration with HMRI’s Public Health Program. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.
(Source: Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics: University of Newcastle: August 2008)