This section features practices that have demonstrated their effectiveness through rigorous research. These practices have been reviewed by a team of experts and summarized in a way that is easy to understand.
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Lifestart is a structured child-centred programme of information and practical activity for parents of children aged from birth to five years of age, conceived by the Lifestart Foundation. It is delivered to parents in their own homes by trained, paid Family Visitors and it is offered to parents regardless of social, economic or other circumstances.
Every parent who joins the Lifestart programme receives a monthly issue based on the Growing Child curriculum (www.growingchild.com) and a 30-60 minute home visit from a Lifestart family visitor. Together the issues of the Growing Child and the visit provide age-specific information on what parents can do with their child and what developmentally appropriate materials they might use. The home visit also offers the opportunity to discuss progress during the last month and focus attention according to the family’s needs. The Lifestart programme is based on a logic model, which depicts how the programme is thought to work (please refer to the Lifestart logic model in Miller et al, 2015, p.15). The programme was implemented in Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) and the Republic of Ireland.
According to evidence submitted to the European Platform for Investing in Children User Registry, the programme costs £650 to implement in an urban setting and £750 in a rural setting.
VoorZorg is a home visitation programme in the Netherlands which has been adapted for the Dutch health context from the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) programme in the United States (Olds et al. 1986). It is designed to assist young pregnant women of low socio-economic status in reducing risk factors for foetal and child development as well as reduce risk of child abuse. The programme consists of approximately 10 home visits of 60-90 minutes delivered to the young mothers during pregnancy, 20 visits during the child’s first year of life and 20 visits during the child’s second year of life. Home visits are delivered by a specially trained and certified VoorZorg nurse.
SolSano is a health education programme for sun safety implemented in primary schools in Spain. The programme has been in operation since 1999. It targets children in grades 1 and 2 (aged 6-8). The overall aim of the programme is to educate children about sun safety in order to teach children to enjoy the sun while reducing its harmful effects. The programme consists of a guide for teachers, an activity notebook for students, and a pamphlet with information on sun protection activities for children directed to their parents.
The ‘Sun healthy habits’ study aimed to evaluate the effects of using an Internet-based school intervention programme to improve sun exposure knowledge and behaviour among Spanish adolescent population. The ‘Sun healthy habits’ website was developed by the Study Committee (dermatologists, epidemiologists and specialists in education) and was structured in six sections: (i) the sun and its characteristics; (ii) sun without danger; (iii) seven sun commandments; (iv) games; (v) visits to other Webs and (vi) Who are we? The selection of content was informed by knowledge gained in a previously conducted cross-sectional study on incorrect sun habits in the population.
Pro Children intervention combined fruit and vegetable (FV) curriculum with efforts to improve FV availability at schools and at home. The intervention consisted of a classroom component including a set of sixteen worksheets with guided activities and a web-based computer-tailored feedback tools; school component including provision of fruit and vegetables either for free, by means of a subscription programme, or as part of school meals; family component encouraging parents to be involved through their children’s homework assignments, parental newsletters, and a parent version of the web-based tool; and optional component aiming to encourage community participation in the Pro Children project, e.g. raising awareness through local media.
The intervention was a part of a broader programme consisting of eight major work packages funded under the Fifth Framework Programme of the European Commission (more information available at http://www.prochildren.org/). The aim of the programme was to increase fruit and vegetable intake as a result of previously empirically proven positive effect of FV intake on health. The intervention was implemented in the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain and aimed at fifth and sixth graders, aged 10-13 years in 2003-2005.