So according to the latest National Health Survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics nearly 63% of us (Australians) are overweight or obese. This is not news.
That same survey tells us that over 70% of the male population of this country are overweight or obese. Whilst a startling statistic, this is also not news.
Same survey again tells us that only 5.1% of adult Australians consume the recommended daily serves of fruit and vegetables. Sad, but still not news.
A community-based healthy lifestyle program for families that puts dads in the driver’s seat? Now that is news.
…if you are the male role model in your family and concerned about your child’s weight and/or level of physical activity you might try modifying your own behaviour first, the benefits could be substantial.
Historically the majority of family-based intervention programs aiming to address overweight and obesity in children and adults have relied on mothers as facilitators. Overlooked and under-valued is the influence of fathers on their children’s physical activity, and eating behaviours. Professor Philip Morgan Co-director of the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition has created the Healthy Dads Healthy Kids program to redress the balance.
What started as a randomised control trial has become a multi-award winning community based program where the focus is on dad to model positive lifestyle behaviours, eating habits and physical activities.
Across nine weeks enrolled dads attend a face to face session each week, sometimes with their kids and there are take home manuals and logbooks for the home based part of the program. At each weekly 90 minute session trained facilitators conduct workshops about weight loss, healthy eating, how to model positive behaviours, how to encourage their kids to be more active, and how to sustain a healthy lifestyle. The initial trial involved 50 fathers and 71 kids. It found that both adults and children significantly improved their overall health and quality of life, with 85% of the dads losing more than 5% of their body weight, and more importantly managing to sustain the positive changes.Morgan, P.J., Lubans, D.R., Callister, R., Okely, A.D., Burrows, T., Fletcher, R., & Collins, C.E. (2011). The ‘Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids’ randomized controlled trial: Efficacy of a healthy lifestyle program for overweight fathers and their children. International Journal of Obesity, 35(3), 436-447.
What makes this program different? The researchers say there are three major innovations in their program. The first is of course tailoring the program towards men. They say that men are fundamentally motivated by the desire to be a good role model for their children and this program gives them the tools to model healthy lifestyle choices. The second is that using physical activity and healthy eating as an engagement medium improves family relationships overall and provides benefits over and above the physical. The third innovation comes from the magic of reciprocal reinforcement. A strong aspect of the program design is that fathers model healthy behaviours for their children. And yet, another fundamental aspect is encouraging each child to become their own dads ‘personal trainer’, investing them with ownership and responsibility. These complementary strategies were a key to its success.
Since then, these trials have lead the way to a community roll out of the program, over 500 families have participated and the response has been continuously positive. The evidence suggests that if you are the male role model in your family and concerned about your child’s weight or their level of physical activity you might try modifying your own behaviour first, the benefits could be substantial.
Mother’s Day is almost here, and what better way to honour the tradition than with breakfast in bed. Here is a simple healthy recipe that dads can prepare with the kids to not only celebrate the occasion but also to model those behaviours that help to sustain a healthy lifestyle. This one is even great for the really small ones – a bit of supervision might be required for the knife work but other than that it really is as easy as toast (but much more fabulous).
- 8 thick pieces of rye sourdough bread (or whatever is your favourite)
- 1 fillet of hot smoked salmon
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime
- 1 cup of roughly chopped parsley
- Take the hot smoked salmon out the fridge about 10 minutes prior to starting this recipe. The texture of the salmon improves with a little higher temperature than the one in the fridge. After 10 minutes use your fingers to break the salmon into flaky pieces.
- Toast the pieces of sourdough in the toaster until golden brown.
- In the meantime half the avocado and use a fork to scoop the flesh out into a bowl then squeeze over the juice of one lime and mash with a fork until smooth. Add half of the roughly chopped parsley to the bowl and mix to combine.
- To serve spread some of the avocado mixture onto each slice of bread, top with salmon flakes, scatter over the reserved parsley then serve to your mum in bed, on a tray with a nice cup of tea.
- Enjoy xx
References [ + ]
|1.||⇪||Morgan, P.J., Lubans, D.R., Callister, R., Okely, A.D., Burrows, T., Fletcher, R., & Collins, C.E. (2011). The ‘Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids’ randomized controlled trial: Efficacy of a healthy lifestyle program for overweight fathers and their children. International Journal of Obesity, 35(3), 436-447.|