09 May, 2013 Last updated: 27 Jan, 2015

In the lead up to Mother’s Day we have produced two videos about important research Dr Karen Campbell conducted with new mothers to establish healthy eating patterns.

In the lead up to Mother’s Day, VicHealth has produced two videos about important research VicHealth Research Fellow Dr Karen Campbell has conducted with new mothers in Victoria to establish healthy eating patterns in babies that will lead to a lifetime of good nutrition.

Dr Karen Campbell works in the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN) at Deakin University, Australia’s premier research institution concerned with the population health aspects of nutrition and physical activity.

It is well established that poor diet in childhood may lead to higher body weight, higher risks for cardiovascular disease and diet-related cancers, but recent research has revealed child and adult diets are more closely connected than we might think. The food a child learns to prefer in the first few years of life will influence what they eat as an adult.

In Australia, by the age of three, most children are eating  non-nutritious foods every day, they are spending far too much time in front of the television, and as a result, one in five of our toddlers is already overweight or obese.

Karen’s research has focused on combating these alarming statistics. With her colleagues, she has designed and delivered education sessions to support parents to raise healthy children through early childhood. Central to her research is how parents’ social networks can improve child and adult health as they share information and support each other to stay on track. VicHealth support has enabled Karen to rapidly build the evidence base in this area.

These videos are a great introduction to Karen’s Infant Program, under which new mothers in Victoria met for six weekly sessions over the course of their child’s early development – from birth to 18 months – to learn about healthy eating and active play right from the start.

In these early years toddlers are hard-wiring their brains about foods they’ll enjoy and physical capacities they’ll maintain across their life and it’s also a time when parents need support.

Following the success of the Infant Program, Karen is now working to expand her work by reaching out to parents of toddlers.  The  existing infant program website www.infantprogram.org will expand to include video clips and an online space where parents can engage with experts around how to promote healthy eating and active play across the challenging toddler years.

Find out more about the Infant Program:


Join the Infant Program on Facebook 

Join Karen Campbell on Twitter