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Preventing obesity in infants: the Growing healthy feasibility trial protocol
  1. Elizabeth Denney-Wilson1,
  2. Rachel Laws2,
  3. Catherine Georgina Russell1,
  4. Kok-leong Ong3,
  5. Sarah Taki1,
  6. Roz Elliot1,
  7. Leva Azadi2,
  8. Sharyn Lymer4,
  9. Rachael Taylor5,
  10. John Lynch6,
  11. David Crawford2,
  12. Kylie Ball2,
  13. Deborah Askew7,
  14. Eloise Kate Litterbach2,
  15. Karen J Campbell2
  1. 1University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Latrobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  5. 5University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  6. 6University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
  7. 7Inala Indigenous Health, Brisbane, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Denney-Wilson; Elizabeth.denney-wilson{at}


Introduction Early childhood is an important period for establishing behaviours that will affect weight gain and health across the life course. Early feeding choices, including breast and/or formula, timing of introduction of solids, physical activity and electronic media use among infants and young children are considered likely determinants of childhood obesity. Parents play a primary role in shaping these behaviours through parental modelling, feeding styles, and the food and physical activity environments provided. Children from low socio-economic backgrounds have higher rates of obesity, making early intervention particularly important. However, such families are often more difficult to reach and may be less likely to participate in traditional programs that support healthy behaviours. Parents across all socio-demographic groups frequently access primary health care (PHC) services, including nurses in community health services and general medical practices, providing unparalleled opportunity for engagement to influence family behaviours. One emerging and promising area that might maximise engagement at a low cost is the provision of support for healthy parenting through electronic media such as the Internet or smart phones. The Growing healthy study explores the feasibility of delivering such support via primary health care services.

Methods This paper describes the Growing healthy study, a non-randomised quasi experimental study examining the feasibility of an intervention delivered via a smartphone app (or website) for parents living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, for promoting infant feeding and parenting behaviours that promote healthy rather than excessive weight gain. Participants will be recruited via their primary health care practitioner and followed until their infant is 9 months old. Data will be collected via web-based questionnaires and the data collected inherently by the app itself.

Ethics and dissemination This study received approval from the University of Technology Sydney Ethics committee and will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

  • obesity prevention
  • mHealth
  • prevention
  • rapid weight gain
  • infants

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