Nov 21
Supporting rural kids to have the healthiest start in life - Munch & Move Healthy Eating and Active Play Conference

​Almost fifty preschools and long day care services attended the inaugural Munch & Move Healthy Eating & Active Play Conference on Monday 23 October 2017 in Dubbo.

The Western NSW Local Health District, Health Promotion Team in partnership with Early Childhood Australia and the NSW Office of Preventive Health hosted a panel of experts from health, early childhood education and academic fields.

Ms Hayley Vaughan, Healthy Weight Coordinator, Western NSW and Far West Local Health District says that early childhood is a valuable period to learn and establish lifelong healthy practises.

“The number of children who are overweight or obese continues to be a significant public health issue in Australia. The state-wide Munch & Move program supports early childhood education and care services to create an environment that promotes health, and role models of positive behaviours for young children and their families,” said Ms Vaughan.

“Embedding healthy eating and physical activity including daily fundament movement skills into a services everyday program and policy documents to increase sustainability was a take home message from the Conference.

“The first Munch & Move Conference of its kind, complements the ongoing assistance we provide to trained Munch & Move services in the western and far west NSW regions.”

Keynote speaker, Professor Anthony Okely from the University of Wollongong, highlighted some of the many factors that influence a child’s health status. Professor Okely encouraged rural and remote early childhood education and care services to establish a positive environment around eating healthy food and drinks, and to help young children learn to recognise when they are hungry or full. Professor Okely also presented evidence on the benefits of children being active more often and in shorter bouts, rather than in one longer physical activity session.

Director at Buninyong Preschool, Mrs Jemima Quilty said “We have been implementing Munch & Move for a number of years now and have found that it supports us as we work towards our Assessment and Rating, as part of the National Quality Framework.”

“Educators play an important role in the education and development of healthy behaviours of children attending our services. The Conference was a great opportunity to learn the latestinformation around healthy eating and being active. The practical tips and resources to further support our children and their families were the highlights.

“Our children are always active throughout the day however using physical actvity to address some of the other learning domains such as social and cognitive learning, plus intentionally teaching fundamental movement skills daily will be something we can focus on all whilst ensuring the children’s personal interests are explored.”

The Conference focused on promoting the six Munch & Move key messages: to encourage and support breastfeeding; choose water as a drink; choose healthier snacks; eat more fruit and vegetables; get active each day; and turn off the screen and get active.

Information on Munch & Move can be found at: www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/campaigns-programs/about-munch-move
 
Media contact: Please call Emily Mitchell, Media Manager on (02) 6369 3288 or 0418 673 033.