The children and youth stream of HPC is dedicated to finding new ways to promote healthy living in young people. In recent years, we have coordinated large-scale surveys of children’s health behaviour (both cross-sectional and longitudinal), developed novel school-based interventions for promoting physical activity and nutrition, and evaluated numerous health promotion programmes in young people. Our research team is particularly interested in the role of physical activity and healthy lifestyles in the prevention and management of childhood obesity.
While most health promotion interventions in children focus on the school setting, evidence suggests that children are less active and have greater access to energy-dense foods outside of school. This novel study aims to develop and test an applied homework programme that requires children to be active and eat well at home.
Improving the quality of permanent play facilities in schools may offer an innovative, cost-effective, long-term solution for promoting healthy behaviours in children. The aim of this collaborative study is to determine if increasing the number of permanent play facilities in primary schools increases physical activity and reduces the rate of excessive weight gain.
This study is part of a longitudinal birth cohort and involves ongoing measurement of physical activity in Pacific Island children and their mothers. Relationships between physical activity and health and well-being variables will be examined.
For more information, see: doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-587
There is sparse research in the New Zealand environment that investigates the food and nutrition knowledge, food preferences and cooking skills of children, the food environment both at home and in school, and the relationship of these to health outcomes of children. This study conducted focus groups with children, interviews with food technology teachers and employed parent questionnaires in two intermediate schools in Auckland, to determine the food and nutrition knowledge, food preferences and cooking skills of children, and the food environment both at home and in school. The data is currently being analysed, with the aim to provide background information necessary to develop New Zealand-specific resources for a joint project with Flinders University in South Australia, investigating the effects of a school-based cooking intervention on the psychological and physical health outcomes of Australian and New Zealand children aged 11-13 years.
Project InterActiveProject InterActive is a new and unique initiative that ensures children in high-need communities receive consistent physical activity messages and opportunities from early childhood through to secondary school. The goal of this project is to engage and retain young people in physical activity and sport throughout their schooling lives.