In the beginning...
Our story is about a public health programme for the Auckland and Waitemata regions of New Zealand. The “Healthy Babies Healthy Futures” programme or more simply put, “HBHF”.
Back in 2014, a large group of community organisations talked about the need to reduce the alarming childhood obesity rates. As a result, we developed this health promotion programme targeting pregnant mums and baby’s first four years of life. Further to this, we focused where the need was the highest across the wider Auckland region. Communities and their families from these cultures, Maori, Pasifika, South Asia and Asian.
The lessons we learned and shared...
Early on, it became apparent parent’s thrived when they got the right help early. With support from the Ministry of Health, we evaluated what worked for families and what didn’t. It soon became clear that our Healthy Baby Workshops, TextMATCH programmes, fun experiences and friendly staff worked best for everyone.
We continue to co-design our Community Workshops and TextMATCH programmes to be fun, friendly and factual. Just to be sure, we gathered local health experts to make sure our content was accurate and up to date. This technical advisory group included – Public Health specialists, Midwives, Lead Maternity Carers, Nutritionists and cultural ambassadors. Nowadays, we work together in small agile teams.
Making workshops fun, friendly and factual...
Also, we made it a priority to hire exceptional lifestyle coaches from backgrounds similar to the families we serve. Today, we pride ourselves with staff that “reach and teach” families from the multicultural and diverse region that Auckland has become.
Furthermore, staff are trained in healthy conversation skills, motivational interviewing and healthy start knowledge because we value parents being supported to talk about their health goals and aspirations.
About 2015, Healthy Babies Healthy Futures launched with great expectations. Activities began to focus on supporting mum’s pregnancy and baby’s growth. As a result, facilitating community workshops and providing health advice through text messaging programmes proved most helpful for parents.
Our story today and in the future...
We now expect parents that complete our programmes to begin making changes in their lifestyle immediately and for the better. At first, typically one or two lifestyle changes were made after attending just one workshop. Soon after, as confidence grew, and more new information was learned. Parents found it easier to be healthy and keep healthy.
Today, HBHF is developing into a parenting programme that is a pleasant surprise for those who join. We give a friendly welcome and no matter where you are at with your parenting there is something you can learn and teach us. We are a passionate group committed to helping parents to make healthy choices with useful knowledge, skills and experience.
Learning alongside Coronavirus
As the coronavirus changes the world we adapted our programmes for online learning. The team are developing online courses and content for parents to access at their own time and spaces in 2020 and beyond.
To make it easier for parents we offer three programmes:
1) How to have a healthy pregnancy
2) How to raise a healthy baby
3) How to raise a healthy toddler