Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsHi. I'm professor Tony Okely. Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century. Every child deserves the best possible start to life. Patterns established in these early formative years have a lasting impact. Over the next four weeks, we will look at what is contributing to childhood obesity, and what strategies we can use to prevent it, as well as give you the tools to forge a pathway to a healthy future. So what are the major contributing factors? We have broken it down into four behavioral areas-- nutrition, physical activity, screen time and sedentary behavior, and sleep.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 secondsEach week, we will look into each of these areas, and learn how the delicate balance of these four behaviors is crucial in establishing healthy patterns in children's lives. Thank you for joining us. It promises to be an enlightening and enriching four weeks.

Welcome to the course

Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century, and if not prevented at an early age, it can become a lifelong condition and lead to very serious diseases and disorders…

In this course, we:

  • follow the latest innovative research in childhood development,
  • learn from well-respected and published professionals about obesity prevention in children under five, and
  • gain lifestyle strategies to provide children with an early start to healthy living and pathways to healthy futures.

Over four unique and engaging weeks we will learn about nutrition, physical activity, screen time and sleep, and how the delicate balance of these four elements is crucial in establishing healthy patterns in children’s lives.

We will look at a range of topics, including:

  • Making fruit and vegetables attractive
  • Offering healthy snacks and drinks
  • Promoting active play
  • Reducing screen time and sedentary behaviour
  • Creating healthy sleep patterns.

This course has been developed by childhood obesity specialists at the Early Start Research Institute (ESRI) at the University of Wollongong. Boasting world-class facilities and researchers, ESRI conducts research to inform professional practice, influence policy development, and enhance the lives of children, youth and families. Staff from ESRI will share their expertise throughout this course that will take you to the forefront of the latest innovative research in childhood development.

It is great that you can join us on this journey!

Throughout the course, we encourage you to make the most of your learning experience by using FutureLearn’s social features. Feel free to post your thoughts or questions in the comments area for each step and don’t be afraid to ‘like’ other learners’ posts and start conversations. If this is your first FutureLearn course, the ‘Using FutureLearn’ page provides some useful tips and can help you find your way around.

We have included a step at the end of each week to allow you to ask a question inspired by the content that hasn’t been answered by your fellow learners. For this to work best please follow the guidelines outlined on the step description.

Get extra benefits, upgrade your course

You can now get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including:

Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests: Ensure you’ve mastered the material with access to tests on the course.

A Certificate of Achievement: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible.

Find out more

*Please Note: If you are a manager and want to purchase upgrades for your employees, FutureLearn offers voucher codes which allow you to purchase in bulk of 100 or more upgrades. Please fill in the form here

Join us on a journey over four life-changing weeks to prevent childhood obesity and provide all children with the best early start to a healthy life…

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This video is from the free online course:

Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

University of Wollongong