Engaging new parents in the development of a peer nutrition education model using participatory action research

Richard Ball, Kerith Duncanson, Lee Ashton, Andrew Bailey, Tracy L. Burrows, Gail Whiteford, Maria Henström, Rachel Gerathy, Alison Walton, Jennifer Wehlow, Clare E. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated the implementation model and research methods of a peer education program for new parents focused on infant feeding and nutrition. Two hundred and sixty-nine parents with an infant aged birth to two years old were invited to become co-researchers in a Participatory Action Research (PAR) study over three years. Data included focus group and online participant meeting transcripts, social media data, correspondence between the implementation team and peer educators, and field notes. All data were consolidated regularly and discussed by project participants and the research team. After each PAR cycle, structured content analysis was conducted, informing the next iteration of the implementation model and research methods. Participating parents were highly engaged in child feeding peer-to-peer education, but felt more effective and comfortable being considered as a child-feeding information resource sharer or ‘champion’ rather than a formal peer educator. Similarly, quantitative data collection was only effective when it was integrated seamlessly into the implementation model. PAR methodology suited the diversity and dynamic real-life study setting, facilitating substantial improvements to the peer nutrition intervention model and data collection methods. Our study demonstrated that a genuine collaboration between health professionals and participants to implement research in practice can achieve both intervention outcomes and research aims.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2022

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