Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

FutureLearn Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

University of Wollongong
2 hours/week
4 weeks
Paid Certificate Available
Course Link
Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century and affects over 41 million children under the age of five. If not prevented at an early age it can become a lifelong condition and lead to very serious diseases and disorders.

This free online course follows the latest innovative research in childhood development to reveal what is contributing to these shocking figures and what can be done to prevent childhood obesity.

Join us over four unique and engaging weeks as we learn from well-respected and published professionals about obesity prevention in children under five, and gain lifestyle strategies to provide children with an early start to healthy living and pathways to healthy futures.

Discover lifestyle strategies for preventing childhood obesity
This course is designed to help parents and those who work with children. It will describe the main behaviours that contribute to childhood obesity – from birth to the age of five – and provide evidence-based advice on promoting and maintaining healthy levels of these behaviours.

Each week of the course will look at a different area and will address some of the following topics:
  • Making fruit and vegetables attractive
  • Offering healthy snacks and drinks
  • Promoting active play
  • Reducing screen time and sedentary behaviour
  • Creating healthy sleep patterns.
By the end of the course, you will be able to set goals to promote healthy behaviours in the children you care for and monitor their progress over time.

Learn with childhood obesity specialists at the Early Start Research Institute
The course has been developed by childhood obesity specialists at the Early Start Research Institute (ESRI) at the University of Wollongong Australia, which conducts research to inform professional practice, influence policy development, and enhance the lives of children, youth and families. Boasting world-class facilities and researchers, ESRI will share expertise throughout this course that will take you to the forefront of the latest innovative research in childhood development.

Join us on a mission over four life-changing weeks to prevent childhood obesity and provide all children with the best early start to a healthy life.

The course is designed for the parents and carers of children, childhood educators and childcare workers, as well as anyone considering further study in the fields of child care or public health.

What topics will you cover?
  • The complexities and implications of the global obesity epidemic facing children of the 21st century
  • The impact of nutrition, physical activity, screen time and sleep on childhood obesity
  • Factors influencing a child’s nutrition, physical activity, screen time and sleep (the ecological model)
  • Guidelines for understanding what healthy eating means for young children and how to put it into practice
  • Practical strategies for promoting healthy eating for children (making fruit and vegetables more attractive, modifying recipes and menus, reducing discretionary foods, and making meal times positive)
  • Physical activity milestones, challenges and guidelines for children under five years old
  • Strategies for promoting physical activity for children (creating active spaces and opportunities for physical activity in everyday and childcare settings)
  • The prevalence and complexities of screen time in the 21st century and its influence on young children
  • Guidelines for screen use for children under five years of age
  • Strategies for promoting healthy screen time for young children (creating a balance by reducing, maximising and replacing screen time)
  • The science behind sleep across the lifespan and how it is measured and regulated
  • Guidelines for sleep in young children
  • Practical strategies for optimising, prioritising and promoting sleep hygiene

Taught by
Tony Okely
First release
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