Flinders University nutrition experts have contributed to a newly launched online registry of resources that aims to help boost vegetable consumption in Aussie kids.
The searchable website features projects, programs and research that can be used by health professionals, organisations and agencies in their own settings to support children’s veggie intake.
The registry is one of the first achievements of the five-year VegKit project which brings together a large program of work to address the significant issue of underconsumption of vegetables in children.
The overall $4 million VegKit project is funded by Hort Innovation and led by the CSIRO in a consortium with Flinders University and Nutrition Australia.
It’s estimated that 95% of Australian children aged between two and six years are not eating adequate amounts of vegetables.
Nutrition Australia, which led the development of the online vegetable resource registry component, says the project was designed as an easy-to-use, approachable and credible source of inspiration.
Nutrition Australia CEO Lucinda Hancock says the online resource registry aims to increase vegetable consumption in children by supporting those who work with children to implement projects and initiatives or upload their own work for others to see.
“Working together with community and public health workers, educators, organisations and researchers means we can expand the impact of VegKit and improve the likelihood of addressing the issue,” she says.
“The overall goal of the registry is to increase reach of contributors’ work and motivate others in the child and public health settings to use the resources to put into place their own projects to improve vegetable consumption of children.
“It is only with the collaboration of a range of individuals that we can combat this growing issue.”
The team at Flinders University led the development of the Global Rating Assessment Tool which enables all submitted resources to be reviewed for effectiveness and alignment the Best Practice Guidelines for Increasing Vegetable Consumption in Children.
Flinders University Caring Futures Institute researcher Professor Rebecca Golley, a nationally recognised expert in childhood obesity and nutrition promotion, said the assessment tool was just one aspect of the Institute’s input into VegKit.
“Flinders is also working with international experts as well as health, child development and education professionals to look for opportunities to foster a liking and acceptance of vegetables right from when children start to eat,” she says.
“We are also working with industry partners to explore novel food service models to overcome common barriers to supporting kids to eat plenty of vegetables in childcare.
“Ultimately this trusted and reviewed wealth of knowledge provides a suite of practical tools, programs and initiatives for educators and health care professionals to promote veggie consumption in key settings such as long day care centres and schools.
“We need to make eating vegetables a greater focus for Aussie kids by making veggies available and the easy choice across the day,” Associate Professor Golley says.
Research institutions, community, public health and not-for-profit organisations, and early and primary education providers are encouraged to upload their own vegetable consumption initiatives to the registry.