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Case study: Public Health: nutrition for toddlers

Say Communications worked with the Infant & Toddler Forum to create Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers that launched in July 2010

Published: 09 Mar 2012

nutrition for toddlers

The Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers helped to postively influence nutrition and feeding habits.

Client: Infant & Toddler Forum

Agency: Say Communications Ltd

Campaign: Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers

Timescale: Ongoing (est. 2010)

A quick look

Say Communications worked with the Infant & Toddler Forum to create the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers – a practical guide to what nutritious foods to offer, what behaviour to encourage and how best to manage mealtimes – that launched in July 2010. The agency is now facilitating a roll out of the scheme to early years settings across the UK run by the Pre-School Learning Alliance.

Challenge

Public health is high on the government’s agenda and those with an influence on early years nutrition and feeding habits have a significant role to play in promoting positive lifestyles and preventing long-term health problems.

Toddlers need a nutritious, balanced diet to thrive and the foods they learn to like in their early years can help shape eating habits that influence their health in later life. However, there is currently a lack of clear, consistent guidance and information available both to parents and carers of toddlers and to the health and child care professionals who are expected to advise them.

British parents rely on a complex support network. A survey by the Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) showed that the average toddler has almost 30 per cent of meals provided by people other than his/her parents. Wherever toddlers are fed, those involved have an important role to play in improving diet and to do this they need clear and practical guidance.

As health agendas develop, there is a need to evaluate the most effective ways to target parents and carers with the right information to enable them to make the best choices for their children’s nutritional needs.


Solution

Say Communications worked with the ITF to develop a body of evidence and best practice that substantiates the creation of a peer-reviewed reference, supported by key stakeholders in the early years.

The strategy was to create a practical resource that could be adopted in any setting where toddlers were cared for, advising parents and carers and health and child care professionals.

The Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers was launched in July 2010 and provides a quick, practical guide to what nutritious foods to offer toddlers, what behaviour to encourage and how best to manage mealtimes.


Results

The 2010 launch was a great success and Say Communications has continued to work alongside the ITF during 2011 as it promotes and encourages wider recognition and adoption of the Ten Steps.

One early adopter is the Pre-school Learning Alliance. The Say team is currently working with the early years care provider on a phased roll-out, starting with approximately 130 of the Alliance’s direct service provider settings. Say Communications is facilitating the implementation with the creation and supply of supporting materials such as posters, leaflets and training resources to drive adoption via a new webpage offering exclusive access to Alliance members.

Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance said: “Our experience shows us that many settings do an admirable job of providing nutritious meals despite budgetary constraints, but there is room for improvement in some areas. The Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers is exactly the kind of practical resource that will help practitioners to get the balance right.”


Client verdict

“To approach feeding toddlers with confidence, carers need consistent, simple and sound advice that can be applied everywhere toddlers are fed and this is exactly what the ITF has developed with the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers.”

Atul Singhal, Chair of the Infant & Toddler Forum and Professor of Paediatric Nutrition at the Institute of Child Health

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