Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids (HDHK) is a community-based, multi-award winning program, aimed at engaging fathers in positive lifestyle role modelling and effective parenting strategies to improve the physical activity and dietary behaviours of both themselves and their children.
HDHK includes 9 x 90 minute face-to-face sessions and a home-based component driven by the children. During the program, dads spend quality time with their kids participating and fun, engaging and educational activities that are beneficial to all aspects of their physical and mental health. Both fathers and children learn healthy eating habits and active lifestyle approaches. Dads also learn evidence-based parenting strategies to optimise the physical and mental well-being of their children.
HDHK has been evaluated in six communities across the Hunter and Great Lakes regions (NSW), in partnership with local schools. The results to date have been overwhelmingly positive with substantial long-term improvements in various health outcomes for both dads and kids. Over 500 families (>1000 children) have participated in the program to date. The program’s success is also attributable to the strong partnership between the University of Newcastle (UoN), industry sponsor Coal and Allied, HMRI and the local schools and communities.
Of most significance has been the external recognition HDHK has received in the form of major national/international awards, requests to adapt HDHK to international communities, unprecedented media interest and invited presentations to disseminate the findings to a broad range of stakeholders.