See How They Grow
In partnership with Cure Kids and the National Science Challenge A Better Start, PDH supports the work led by The University of Auckland’s Gayl Humphrey on the project “See how they grow: Developing and trialling an interactive Child Growth Chart for New Zealand children”.
In this project, Ms Humphrey and her team will design, develop, and test a web-based electronic interactive child growth application. This could replace the current paper-based charts in Well Child Tamariki Ora books, which use growth information from the World Health Organisation which is not customised for our New Zealand population.
Having this important child growth data available in an electronic format will help parents better engage with monitoring their child(ren)’s growth, and to help them understand and participate in managing their eating, activity, and sleeping behaviours.
The overarching aim of A Better Start is to “prevent and treat childhood vulnerability in obesity, poor literacy and behavioural problems through research excellence that will achieve healthy, well-adjusted and well-educated children and young people”. Our research focuses on childhood obesity by working with providers and families to improve knowledge, understanding and support sustainable change. Obesity in New Zealand (NZ) children has increased dramatically from the late 1970s, more than doubling among both boys and girls. While 22% of NZ children were reported as overweight, actual child obesity (Body Mass Index >30) has increased from 8% in 2006/7 to 11 % in 2014/15. There are important ethnic and socioeconomic differences: children living in the most deprived areas are five times as likely to be obese as children living in the least deprived areas.
NZ children should now have their growth monitored through weight and height measurement using NZ-World Health Organisation age-and sex-specific growth charts. The outcomes are usually recorded in a Well Child Tamariki Ora book that provides not only the growth charts but other health and wellbeing information for families. However, NZ health literacy research has found that the majority of NZers are limited in their ability to understand basic health information in order to make informed and appropriate health decisions.
To assist parents to better engage with monitoring their child(ren)’s growth, and to help them understand and participate in managing their eating, activity, sleeping and related behaviours, we will design, develop and test for acceptability and utility, a web-based electronic interactive child growth application. Because the first two years of life are critical for subsequent growth trajectories and health, there will be a strong focus on children up to two years old.
Read our press release about this project (8 September 2017)
Principal Investigator: Gayl Humphrey, The University of Auckland