Poster Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting

“That’s how we did it in my day”: exploring grandparents’ role in supporting healthy lifestyle behaviours when caring for their 1-5 year old grandchildren. (#268)

Rebecca A Perry 1 , Anthea M Magarey 1 , Lucinda Bell 1 , Louisa Matwiejczyk 1 , Carly Moores 1 , Kaye Mehta 1 , Michelle Miller 1 , Jo Hartley 1 , Chelsea Mauch 1 , Ivanka Pritchard 2 , Sandra Mortimer 3
  1. Nutrition and Dietetics, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  2. Social Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  3. Occupational Therapy, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA

Background and Significance

Australian children are experiencing unprecedented rates of overweight and obesity.The promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviours to young children is a significant childhood obesity prevention strategy, with interventions routinely targeting parents and formal child care service providers. Such approaches do not recognise that 50% of 0-4year old Australian children are regularly cared for by their grandparents, indicating that supporting grandparents to promote healthy lifestyle behaviours in early childhood could be a significant and innovative childhood obesity prevention strategy.

The aim of this project is to explore grandparents’ beliefs around how best to promote healthy lifestyle behaviours in 1-5 year old children in their care.


Semi-structured interviews will be undertaken with a sample of grandparents who care for their 1-5year old grandchild/ren at least 10hr/wk.

Analysis of transcripts will explore grandparents’ beliefs around their responsibility for promoting healthy lifestyle behaviours to young children under their care ie. do they see it as their responsibility? Grandparents’ knowledge and understanding of healthy lifestyle recommendations will also be examined. We hope to identify a) Factors that facilitate/impede the promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviours to 1-5year old children by their grandparents, and b) Support required by grandparents to promote these behaviours.

Major Findings

Findings from this project will inform the development of a pilot child healthy lifestyle intervention to be trialled with grandparents who are caring for grandchildren aged 1-5 years old for at least 10h/wk.


This research responds to the effects that changing social trends are having on the care of pre-school aged children. The idea is important as the role of grandparents in the development of healthy lifestyle behaviours in children is a major research gap. It has the potential to contribute to the prevention of obesity in children and the promotion of positive well-being in older adults.