The universal battle against obesity is worsening. Strategies that aim to prevent the onset of obesity, are recommended by the World Health Organisation and have also been included in jurisdictional health plans across Australia.
The feedAustralia initiative has been designed to support these strategies, with childhood obesity at the forefront of its thinking.
feedAustralia presents a durable approach to improving population health by addressing nutrition-related behaviours and modifying nutrition environments for young children.
After launching in March 2018, in 2019 the Commonwealth Department of Health provided funding to enable the rollout of the feedAustralia initiative nationally.
Now with a national mandate, feedAustralia will be a global example of how Australia can address the 1 out of 4 children who are over their healthy weight or obese and prevent disease later in life.
Why Focus on Early Childhood?
In its first iteration, feedAustralia has been designed to address an identified need within the early childhood education and care sector to translate expert nutritional knowledge that enables services to deliver menus that are cost effective and compliant with Australian Dietary Guidelines.
The initial focus of feedAustralia is on early childhood education and care because the benefits of instilling healthy eating habits at a young age are far reaching. The highest quality research, evidence, systematic reviews and controlled trials also show that improving the nutritional environment in early childhood can have a positive impact on diet but can also improve learning behaviours.
Meal Planning is Complex
The required nutritional knowledge and computational burden of menu planning and assessment is considerable, particularly in places of care, including the home.
The calculation of the appropriate number of serves and serving sizes requires a level of nutritional expertise and time given the variations and quantities of food. Early childhood education and care providers must also consider the children in their care with food allergies or intolerances, and provide meat or dairy alternatives for those following a vegan diet. Meals must also be in the correct combination of food groups, avoiding foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.
Understanding that early childhood education and care providers have limited access to cost -effective solutions to deliver menus that are compliant with Australian Dietary Guidelines, feedAustralia presents a web - based technology which translates expert nutritional knowledge into every day ‘best food selection’, providing early childhood education and care providers with the confidence and assurance that the meals they are providing to the children in their care are both healthy and nutritious.