Parents and carers can now sign up to a free government-funded program which aims to increase activity and healthy eating for the whole family.
   
The new program called PEACH (Parenting, Eating and Activity for Child Health), is available to families with a child 5-11 years who is above a healthy weight for their age and gender. The program takes a family-focused approach by helping parents and carers make healthy eating and activity a part of every-day life. 

As part of the program, families attend 10 fortnightly sessions over six months, with additional support in the form of three phone calls. The sessions see parents learn and problem solve in a group environment while their children enjoy active play with a trained child physical activity facilitator. Some of the topics covered in the program include nutrition skills, relationships with food and eating, changing family lifestyle behaviours, making healthy eating affordable and overcoming resistance.

One of the PEACH program creators Professor Lynne Daniels, head of QUT’s Nutrition and Exercise Sciences School, said the program armed parents with skills to combat modern pressures around food and encouraged them to be more active as a family. “The PEACH program focuses on promoting healthy lifestyle behaviours in the family environment and  specifically on equipping parents to be healthy role models, as they are the agents of change in the household,” she said.

“It is about empowering parents and acknowledging that pressures of family life - including money and time restraints combined with mixed messages around food - can make it difficult to achieve a healthy balance.” The PEACH program is a Queensland commitment under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health - Healthy Children. It will be delivered by QUT using trained PEACH facilitators.

PEACH will initially be offered to 75 families in Brisbane, Logan, Caboolture and Rockhampton, followed by a state-wide roll out to a further 1325 families from 2014. If you would like more information about the PEACH program or to register please free call 1800 263 519 or visit www.peachqld.com.au