In this section
When children develop healthy eating and
physical activity habits in their early years, they have a greater chance of
realising their full potential – today and for life.
Health and early childhood
professionals have an important role to play in helping parents to feel
confident in supporting their children to eat healthy food and be active every
Our CUPs approach has
helped professionals across Australia to work with families at risk of vulnerability for enduring positive impact.
We’re passionate about helping professionals to
use this transformative approach in supporting parents to make active play and
healthy food a part of their children’s everyday life.
The approach supports professionals in their
work with families and their children aged 0-5 years. It includes:
One example of a CUPs message is that it’s great for children to use a
cup. In CUPs, we love cups! Here’s why: moving from a bottle to a cup can help
with children’s appetite for healthy food, reduce their risk of dental decay
and contribute to healthy growth.
Learning to use a cup in a CUPs playgroup.
The CUPs program is highly flexible and works best if groups of
families work with a trained facilitator. Facilitators come from different
professional backgrounds and include playgroup leaders and early childhood educators.
If there’s an
opportunity to regularly meet families and build long-term relationships, then
this approach can really shine.
Supported playgroups can be a great place to use the CUPs approach, but the
best place for individual communities will always depend on their unique needs.
Future CUPs facilitators in the two-day training program.
Our approach is an effective way to engage
families who may not visit their GP or maternal and child health nurse for
By bringing evidence to life in social and
supportive environments with a trained facilitator, CUPs makes it possible to
tackle complex and interrelated issues for long-lasting change in a gentle,
casual and meaningful way.
The approach is also dynamic, adapting to the
needs of individuals in the community and to the knowledge of the facilitator.
the approach is holistic – supporting predictive behaviours that can lead to
healthy eating and active play through conversations and lived experience.
With long-term, weekly contact between
facilitators and families, trusting relationships can emerge that lay a strong
foundation for lasting change.
A 9-month-old enjoying a meal with their mother at a CUPs playgroup.
This approach can work especially well with
families who are experiencing adversity or unique challenges. But it can also be
transformative for any parent who is looking for long-term, holistic support to
make changes in their family’s life in a gentle and social environment.
CUPs is a real team effort, where everyone can learn from
The CUPs approach was developed by our team from The Royal
Children’s Hospital, a leader in healthcare, research and education to improve
the health and wellbeing of children, and Murdoch Children’s Research
Institute, the largest child health research institute in Australia.
Based at the Centre for Community Child Health and drawing
on specialist expertise in child health and development, our multidisciplinary
team has collaborated for over ten years on researching and co-designing the
approach with communities.
CUPs is based on a successful long-term Victorian pilot completed
in 2015 in which professionals helped parents to gain confidence and discover
new ways to help their children eat healthy food and be active.
We’re excited to scale
our approach nationwide and see momentum grow.
In partnership with Save the Children – Australia’s largest
aid and development agency dedicated to helping children – the approach is
currently delivered in eight locations across New South Wales, Tasmania and
Are you interested in using the CUPs approach in your work
with, or for families? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact Judith Myers
The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.