Au Pair Link achieves the first ever national Healthy Heart Award

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Nathalie

We are extremely proud and excited to announce that we have received the Flourishing Pa-Harakeke Healthy Heart Award from the Heart Foundation. It is the highest accolade presented to Early Childhood Education providers, awarding us for all the amazing things we do to promote healthy food and physical activity among our tamariki.

Au Pair Link is also the first company in New Zealand to be awarded this on a national level, achieving the golden Pa-Harakeke Healthy Heart Award in all of our fourteen licensed regions, all the way from Auckland to Oamaru. We are particularly proud and honoured to be recognised as a leader in the promotion of health and wellbeing in the Early Childhood Education sector here in New Zealand.

We were presented with our Pa-Harakeke Healthy Heart Award by Adele from the Heart Foundation at Extreme Edge Rock Climbing, one of our many routine au pair and child events or playgroups where we combine curriculum focused learning and activity, and promote a healthy lifestyle.

New Zealand is ranked third highest for the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity amongst all OECD nations and rates are increasing. Overweight and obese children have a greater risk of developing health issues such as musculoskeletal and orthopaedic problems, as well as early onset of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes continues into adulthood. Reducing childhood obesity is therefore an important health promotion strategy. Healthy lifestyle habits including healthy eating and increased physical activity can lower the risk of children becoming overweight and developing related diseases. There is evidence that the first five years of a child's development are critical for the formation of healthy habits.

New Zealand children under five years of age are spending an average of 21 hours a week in early learning services. Time spent at these services has increased by 53.3% since 2000. Therefore, the early learning setting offers a great window of opportunity to promote healthy habits to a large number of children and their families/whanau. 

The New Zealand Heart Foundation shares the vision that habits learned in the early years are likely to last a lifetime and understands that the establishment of these healthy habits contribute to children's current and future well-being. The Heart Foundation's Healthy Heart Award programme (HHA) was designed to provide guidance and structure for early learning services to create an environment that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. The programme aims to support services to make changes in areas including: policy development, healthy eating promotion, professional development and nutrition and physical activity education. Many of the areas covered by the programme are consistent with the recommendations found in the WHO report of "The Commission on ending childhood obesity. The HHA programme content also builds on components of the New Zealand Ministry of Education's Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whāriki.