One in five Australian pre-schoolers are overweight or obese, meaning the first years of life are vital for obesity primary prevention. Parent child feeding practices impact on children’s dietary intake, which in turn impacts on their weight status. Parents’ child feeding beliefs are heavily influenced by parenting peers. The aim of this cohort study is to evaluate the impact of the Parents in Child Nutrition Informing Community (PICNIC) study on parents feeding practices and diet quality. The secondary outcomes are the perceptions of trained peer educators and education recipients based on their involvement in PICNIC. One hundred parents with a child aged 0–2 years at time of recruitment will participate in peer educator training, then disseminate nutrition and child feeding content to other parents over an intervention period of 12 months, supported by project-specific, evidence-based social media pages and website. An additional 100 new parents, recruited by peer educators, will participate in the study as nutrition education recipients. Both peer educators and education recipients will complete quantitative child feeding surveys before and during the 12 month intervention and a dietary intake survey at a time point 12 months post intervention. Following the intervention, 30 education recipients will be asked to participate in semi-structured phone interviews about their experiences with PICNIC. Peer educators will contribute as co-researchers and active participants in the evolution of the PICNIC model. This study will contribute to enhanced understanding of contemporary health literacy strategies for communicating nutrition and feeding messages to new parents and the impact of these strategies on parents feeding practices and children’s dietary intake in a community setting.
Ball, R., Vaschak , R., Bailey, A., Whiteford, G., Burrows, T., Duncanson, K., & Collins, C. (2020). Study protocol of the parents in child nutrition informing community (PICNIC) peer education cohort study to improve child feeding and dietary intake of children aged six months to three years old. Children , 7(1), 1-14. . https://doi.org/10.3390/children7010003