A smartphone app to encourage new mothers to adopt a healthy lifestyle is the result of a three year project by ECU researchers.
The Healthy You, Healthy Baby smartphone app and website provides information on nutrition, physical activity exercise, weight, emotions, social life and sleeping patterns.
It seeks to address the problems that excessive weight gain during pregnancy and an unhealthy lifestyle can cause for new parents and their children.
The app was based on the work of researchers from ECU's Child Health Promotion Research Centre (CHPRC). The Starting Childhood Obesity Prevention Earlier (SCOPE) project focused on the health advice women said they wanted, rather than what professionals thought they needed.
CHPRC Senior Research Fellow Dr Lydia Hearn said the success of the SCOPE project centred on its unique approach.
"We began this project without any set criteria or intervention to evaluate, instead we asked for mothers to let us know what information they needed, how best it could be presented and promoted and by whom," said Dr Hearn.
"Mothers told us that they wanted credible, clinically-approved online information, 24 hours a day that could be tailored to their needs and easy to access."
After working collaboratively with senior government and non-government organisations, ECU partnered with WA parenting organisation Ngala to translate the research into the app.
"We approached Ngala with this concept as they are recognised in Western Australia for their expertise in providing early parenting and early childhood services, their website is clinically approved resource for both pregnant women and health professionals," said Dr Hearn.
Healthy You, Healthy Baby includes a tool for pregnant women and mothers of young children to track their weight, diet, physical activity, emotional wellbeing, social life and sleep patterns.
It provides mothers with tips on how to improve their health and happiness, and it links them to relevant information.
The SCOPE project worked in collaboration with parents, health professionals, parental support groups and leading clinicians from King Edward Memorial Hospital, to determine what support they wanted.
The project was developed in a direct response to the World Health Organisation's International Obesity Taskforce, with the aim of engaging communities and developing strategic partnerships to prevent childhood obesity by addressing it from a different perspective.
The SCOPE project was funded by Healthway and the WA Department of Health.