The first 1000 days of a child’s life are vital to their long-term health. How can young parents in Amsterdam take control of healthy growth and development of their child?
The first 1000 days of children’s lives – from conception to a child’s second birthday – offer a unique window of opportunity as the foundations for healthy growth and development later in life are established. Healthy nutrition, tranquillity, and harmony are important during especially this period.
But how do you go about this as parents of young children? What issues do parents face during this hectic period with young children? How can parents and local professionals work together on solutions? These are questions the Food4Smiles research project aims to find answers to. In Food4Smiles, together with parents and partners in Amsterdam’s New West district, we are looking for ways to give every child the best possible start so that children can develop optimally.
The goals of Food4Smiles
- Raising awareness among parents of young children of the importance of the quality of the first 1000 days in their children’s lives for the rest of their lives.
- Encourage parents of young children to take control of healthy growth and development in the first 1000 days of their children’s lives.
- Create a movement among young parents and their surroundings in which all kinds of existing initiatives are further developed and new initiatives are developed that promote healthy growth and development of future generations.
- Develop a scientifically based approach for laying healthy foundations in the first 1000 days that can be used at other locations in the Netherlands and abroad.
Why Food4Smiles is unique and distinctive
- It connects research, policy, practice, local initiatives and parents of young children. Parents of young children are actively involved in the project, it all takes place in collaboration with and within the neighborhood.
- It uses an integral approach in which the combined importance of nutrition, exercise, sleep and relaxation during the first 1000 days are emphasized.
- It builds on enthusiastic initiatives that are already in the neighborhood and aims to optimize and expand them. This ensures short-term results in the neighborhood, which will trigger a Food4Smiles movement.
- The form of research that we use is called participatory action research, which is innovative in the Netherlands.