The Get Up & Grow: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood Settings Guidelines were developed in recognition of the role of healthy eating and physical activity in supporting normal growth and development and reducing the risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases including obesity.
The healthy eating guidelines cover the transition from infant feeding to family foods while the physical activity recommendations tackle active play in addition to sedentary behaviour and screen time.
The guidelines are consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Physical Activity Recommendations for children 0-5 years, support the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia and are linked to the new National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care developed by the Council of Australia Governments.
Healthy eating guideline 1:
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended, with positive support, for babies up to six months. Continued breastfeeding is recommended for at least 12 months – and longer if the mother and baby wish.
Healthy eating guideline 2:
If an infant is not breastfed, is partially breastfed, or if breastfeeding is discontinued, use an infant formula until 12 months of age.
Healthy eating guideline 3:
Introduce suitable solids at around six months.
Healthy eating guideline 4:
Make sure that food offered to children is appropriate to the child’s age and development, and includes a wide variety of nutritious foods consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia (see below).
Healthy eating guideline 5:
Provide water in addition to age-appropriate milk drinks. Infants under the age of six months who are not exclusively breastfed can be offered cooled boiled water in addition to infant formula.
Healthy eating guideline 6:
Plan mealtimes to be positive, relaxed and social.
Healthy eating guideline 7:
Encourage children to try different food types and textures in a positive eating environment.
Healthy eating guideline 8:
Offer an appropriate amount of food, but allow children to decide themselves how much they will actually eat.
Healthy eating guideline 9:
Offer meals and snacks at regular and predictable intervals.
Healthy eating guideline 10:
Ensure that food is safely prepared for children to eat – from the preparation stages to consumption.
For healthy development in infants (birth to 1 year) physical activity - particularly supervised floor-based play in safe environments – should be encouraged from birth.
Toddlers (1 to 3 years) and pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years) - should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.
Children younger than two years of age - should not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games).
For children two to five years of age, sitting and watching television and the use of other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) should be limited to less than one hour per day.
Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers should not be sedentary, restrained or kept inactive for more than one hour at a time – with the exception of sleeping.
Encourage and support breastfeeding
Children and adolescents need sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally
Enjoy a wide range of nutritious foods
Children and adolescents should be encouraged to:
and care should be taken to:
Care for your child’s food: prepare and store it safely
The new National Quality Standard now covers both nutrition and physical activity under the 2nd quality area: Children's Health and safety.
Services will be assessed against the new National Quality Standard from January 2012, with a transition phase from July 2010 where services will begin to undergo assessment against the new standard.
National Quality Standard – Quality Area 2: Children’s health and safety
2.2 Healthy eating and physical activity are embedded in the program for children.
The Get Up & Grow resources have been developed to assist services meeting the new quality standards while providing practical information for staff and families to support healthy behaviours in children attending centre base care, family day care and preschools. The resources can be viewed, downloaded or hard copies ordered via the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing website.