The Get Up & Grow: Healthy eating and physical activity for early childhood guidelines and accompanying resources have been developed by child health and early childhood professionals in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. State and territory governments were also consulted in the development of these resources.

The Get Up & Grow resources are designed to be used in a wide range of early childhood settings by families, staff and carers, and to support a consistent, national approach to childhood nutrition and physical activity. When applying the guidelines and recommendations outlined within the resources, early childhood settings will also need to meet any other requirements set out in state, territory or federal regulatory arrangements.

These healthy eating and physical activity resources are based on two key national health documents that focus on children, namely:

  • The Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia incorporating The Infant Feeding Guidelines for Health Workers (2003), which forms the basis for nutrition policy in Australia (available in Section 3: Further Reading).
  • The National Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0 to 5 years, which has been developed to guide policy and practice around physical activity for young children (summary available at the end of Section 2: Physical Activity).
This collection of resources has also been developed in recognition of the rich cultural and religious diversity in Australia. To ensure that a range of needs were considered in the development, early childhood staff and carers, associated professionals, and parents from around Australia were consulted through surveys and focus groups. This consultation included a diverse range of people: some from urban, regional and remote locations, some with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, some from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, and some who care for children
with a disability.

In Australia, we presently face an increasing problem with overweight and obese children. The intention of these resources is not to specifically target overweight and obesity, but to establish healthy lifestyle habits in children, in particular healthy habits for eating and physical activity. In turn, this will contribute to the prevention of weight problems in children, while promoting optimum growth, addressing other health issues such as dental health, and allowing children to thrive through social, physical and intellectual development.

The goal of the healthy eating guidelines is to promote offering healthy food choices to children (whether food is provided in the setting or brought from home), while also encouraging children to eat to their own appetites, develop positive attitudes toward selecting food and enjoy eating. The goal of the physical activity recommendations is to support making play a priority, and encourage early childhood staff, carers and families to provide frequent play opportunities in a positive environment.

The Staff and Carer Book is one of the four Get Up & Grow resource books, and is designed for staff and carers at early childhood settings. It provides:
  • an understanding of the healthy eating guidelines and physical activity recommendations
  • practical ideas for putting the guidelines into practice and for working with families confidently.
As well as the four resource books (Director/Coordinator Book, Staff and Carer Book, Family Book and Cooking for Children), there are additional Get Up & Grow materials, such as posters and stickers for the setting, flyers for parents, and newsletter inserts. These additional materials are included on a CD that can be found in the Director/Coordinator Book.

Staff and carers are with children in early childhood settings every day, and have an important role in children’s development. The information in this book will act as a guide for encouraging children and families to get up and grow!