Uni­ver­si­ties lead study into early in­fant feed­ing prac­tices – and fu­ture health

The Corkman - - NEWS -

A FEA­SI­BIL­ITY study aims to pro­mote healthy early in­fant feed­ing prac­tices in pri­mary care.

Re­search shows that feed­ing prac­tices such as breast­feed­ing and the in­tro­duc­tion of solid foods to young in­fants can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on chil­dren’s risk of be­com­ing over­weight or obese.

The study has been de­signed by a team of re­searchers based at UCC, NUI Gal­way and Trin­ity Col­lege Dublin in part­ner­ship with prac­ti­tion­ers at MPHC (Mal­low Pri­mary Health Cen­tre).

This study is be­ing led by Dr Tony Hef­fer­nan of the HSE Nur­ture Pro­gramme, and par­ents and pri­mary care­givers from the CHER­ISH (Choos­ing Healthy Eat­ing for In­fant Health study) pub­lic and pa­tient-in­volve­ment group.

This group con­sists of re­searchers who are work­ing on a na­tion­ally funded pro­ject to de­velop an ap­proach that sup­ports par­ents of young chil­dren re­gard­ing in­fant feed­ing prac­tises and be­hav­iours.

These in­clude pat­terns of breast­feed­ing, for­mula feed­ing, solid-food in­take, and feed­ing other com­ple­men­tary foods and liq­uids.

MPHC has been cho­sen as the first site to run the study, which will in­form fu­ture devel­op­ment and test the in­ter­ven­tion at other pri­mary care sites if found to be fea­si­ble and ac­cept­able to those in­volved.

The re­search is be­ing con­ducted as part of a Health Re­search Board (HRB) funded ini­tia­tive aimed at im­prov­ing early in­fant prac­tices and re­duc­ing the risk of obe­sity in child­hood and later life.

The launch, which took place on Tues­day, was at­tended by health­care prac­ti­tion­ers from MPHC along with CHER­ISH re­search teams.

Par­ents and pri­mary care­givers of in­fants in the rel­e­vant age group will be in­vited to take part in the ini­tia­tive over the com­ing weeks and months at MPHC.

Photo by Sean Jef­feries

Kate O’Neill, School of Pub­lic Health, UCC; Jenny Madi­gan, Prac­tice Man­ager, MPHC; Ruth Haugh, MPHC, Dr Tony Hef­fer­nan; GP MPHC, Pa­tri­cia Kear­ney; School of Pub­lic Health, UCC; Su­san Cal­nan, School of Pub­lic Health, UCC; Elaine Toomey, School of Psy­chol­ogy, NUI Gal­way; and Caragh Flan­nery, School of Pub­lic Health, UCC at Mal­low Pri­mary Health Cen­tre on Tues­day, March 12, for the launch of the Healthy In­fant Feed­ing Ini­tia­tive Study, part of the CHER­ISH study.

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