Getting the dads on board to tackle childhood obesity

23 January 2015

Healthy dads healthy kids

Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids (HDHK) is a highly effective, enjoyable 9-session father-child programme focused on obesity prevention, for schools and other settings.

Developed in Australia, the Fatherhood Institute is now offering HDHK in the UK via a ‘train-the-trainer’ model.

HDHK engages dads in positive lifestyle modelling and effective parenting strategies, to improve their own, and their children’s, physical activity and dietary behaviours.

The programme has been successfully trialled since 2008, and in that time has demonstrated impressive outcomes – with significant improvements at 12-month follow up in children’s’ physical activity levels, BMI scores, dietary behaviours, and educational and social outcomes. It’s also great fun!

How the programme works

The HDHK programme gives dads the knowledge and skills for long-term behaviour change, teaching them about the importance of engaging with their children and using healthy eating and physical activity as media to engage fathers with their children.

And it makes use of ‘pester power’ to everyone’s benefit – harnessing the children’s engagement and enthusiasm for the father-child activities, to reinforce the change in family lifestyle.

Why consider HDHK for your school or setting?

Childhood obesity is a huge issue in the UK, feeding into a range of long term health problems including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

NHS Chief Executive Simon Stephens has called obesity ‘the new smoking’, and is clear that Britain’s economic prosperity depends on a radical upgrade in our approach. Prevention of obesity is now a key priority for health and wellbeing boards.

The Government has also committed to investing £150m a year until 2020 to improve the quality of sport provision in every state primary school in England in the form of the PE and sport premium, because high quality provision – resulting from approaches like HDHK – can lead to dramatic improvements in children’s health, behaviour and attainment.

The cost of HDHK works out at less than £100 per child.


To find out more about how you could bring HDHK to your local area, contact our joint chief executive Kathy Jones via or call her on 0786 776 1251.


Read our FI Research Summary on Fathers and Childhood Obesity.





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