Queensland parents to grab new weapon in war against childhood obesity

News

Parents are about to be taught how to fight the food war in a new, free, ground-breaking program rolling out this month across Queensland.

QUT will this month begin offering families places in a $5 million program called PEACH™ (Parenting, Eating and Activity for Child Health). It will be available to families with a child 5-11 years who is above a healthy weight for their age, and will be the largest obesity intervention program to date in Queensland.

The PEACH™ program is funded by Queensland Health under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health - Healthy Children.

PEACH™ will initially be offered to 75 families in Brisbane, Caboolture, Logan and Rockhampton, followed by a statewide roll out to a further 1325 families from 2014. Families will attend 10 sessions over six months, with additional support in the form of three phone calls. The sessions, run by trained facilitators, see parents learn and problem solve in a group environment about nutrition and activity while their children enjoy active play.

One of the PEACH™ program creators Professor Lynne Daniels, head of QUT's Nutrition and Exercise Sciences School, said the program armed parents with skills to combat modern pressures around food and encouraged them to be more active as a family.

"The PEACH™ program focuses on promoting healthy lifestyle behaviours in the family environment and specifically on equipping parents to be healthy role models, as they are the agents of change in the household," she said.

"It is about empowering parents and acknowledging that pressures of family life - including money and time restraints combined with mixed messages around food - can make it difficult to achieve a healthy balance."

Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said rising childhood obesity levels in Australia were a serious public health issue that required greater attention at all levels of government.

"One of the most important consequences of children being overweight or obese is a greater risk of obesity in adulthood which can place considerable future burden on health costs and services," Mr Springborg said.

"This program has been trialled and proven to be effective in helping parents and carers achieve a healthy lifestyle for their families."

To be eligible for the PEACH™ program children must be 5-11 years with a body mass index (BMI) greater than the 85th percentile for their age and gender.

For more information about registering free call 1800 263 519 or www.peachqld.com.au

PEACH™ Program – Background

> The first rollout of PEACH will be taught at QUT Health Clinic, Kelvin Grove, Mater Hospital, South Brisbane, Logan Hospital, QUT Caboolture campus, and Central Queensland University, Rockhampton.

> Being offered as part of the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, in response to rising rates of childhood overweight and obesity in the community.

> QUT won a tender to secure funding to deliver the program in Queensland.

> The PEACH program is evidence-based and meets current recommendations and guidelines.

> It has been delivered to over 250 families in South Australia and New South Wales by Flinders University and the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney.

Media Inquiries:

QUT Media: 3138 2361 or media@qut.edu.au