A new app to help parents raise healthier toddlers

IPAN researchers are now recruiting Australian families to help develop and test a new app to increase physical activity, decrease sedentary behaviour and optimise sleep in their 2-year-old children.

The project is currently recruiting around 1000 families across Australia to be involved in the project, funded through an NHMRC Project Grant.

The Let’s Grow mHealth intervention will be tested for efficacy, maintenance, cost-effectiveness and translation potential in a randomised controlled trial.

Leading researcher Professor Kylie Hesketh said the project is designed to address evidence showing that all three movement behaviours – physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep – are at less than ideal levels from early childhood.

“Let’s Grow aims to equip parents with the skills to support development of healthy movement habits in their children from early life, putting children on a trajectory to improved behaviours and health throughout life,” she said.

“Our immediate goal is to see improvements in the proportion of time children devote to physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep across the day. We’re also aiming for greater confidence in parents to support physical activity and sleep, and to limit sedentary behaviour in their young children.”

Next steps

Professor Hesketh and her team have now finalised the program’s content and worked with developers to create and test the app.

“This has paved the way for recruitment of families to commence the intervention in 2021. Families randomised to receive the intervention will participate in the program for 12 months, with a follow up one year after they’ve completed the program,” she said.

Key aspects of the program include the focus on all three behaviours together, flexible and tailored parent-led interaction, and consultation with stakeholders in program development to ensure future scalability.

“If we are successful, ultimately we’d love to see Let’s Grow move from research to a program which can be used by all young Australian families,” Professor Hesketh said.

Get involved!

Got a 2-year-old at home? Join Let’s Grow and you will either get access to an app that provides information and strategies to support toddler’s sleep, screen time and play, or you’ll receive our regular Toddler Tips bulletins, with information on child health and development.

Participants will be asked to complete an online survey and wear an activity monitor at 4 time points, and will receive a $20 retail gift voucher at each time point (total $80).

Find out if you’re eligible now: https://bit.ly/3kw4YU5