8 Week NYLO

The aim of Nutrition for Your Little One (NYLO) is to support families to feel more confident to provide a healthy, balanced diet for their child and to help them be a healthy weight.  The long-term aim is to prevent the number of children starting school above a healthy weight.  The programme is open to all families with a child/children aged 5 years and under living in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.  Families with a child aged 5 and under can self-refer onto the programme or be referred by a health professional.

The NYLO programme has been developed by Cardiff and Vale UHB, Public Health Dietitians and was previously delivered over 6, 2-hour weekly sessions. The programme covers a range of different topics including:

  • a balanced diet for young children
  • portion sizes
  • healthy snacks
  • using parenting strategies to set limits and boundaries
  • tips to manage fussy eating
  • reading food labels
  • tips to save time and money.

Parents/carers attend with their child but the child attends their own session run by registered childcare staff. Children take part in a programme of different food activities and active play. The activities are designed for children to learn about healthy foods, increase exposure to different foods and be active. The messy food activities are particularly beneficial for children who are sensitive to different textures.

The parents/carers attend a session with other parents/carers and take part in informal activities and discussions around that week’s topic. Each session ends with a healthy family snack time. When attending the 6-week format families were also invited to attend a Family Activity Session on a different day delivered by play/sport coaches.

The NYLO group programme started delivery of face to face groups in September 2021. Over the period September 2021 to September 2022, 12 programmes were delivered reaching 73 families. Evaluation of the 6-week format was very positive however some families fed back that they would value a longer course and would like further support. The NYLO team felt there was a lot of information to cover in some of the sessions resulting in difficulties keeping to time. Attendance at the separate family activity sessions was poor, with approximately only half the number of families attending the NYLO session also attending the family activity sessions. The main reason given by families for not attending is they were unable to commit to an additional day due to other commitments including work commitments.

Following review of the 1 st year of delivery of the NYLO programme it was decided to pilot the NYLO group programme as an 8- week course instead of 6-weeks. The 8-week programme would incorporate a session dedicated to the benefits of being active and include activities delivered by specially training sport coaches for the parents/carers and their child to take part in together. It was decided the separate family activity sessions delivered on another day would no longer continue. The 8-week programme would allow more time to explain goal-setting and include further activities on positive mealtime practices.

4 NYLO group programmes were piloted as an 8-week format in Quarter 3 of 2022-23. The programmes evaluated well and feedback from the team was positive. During a NYLO team meeting in January 2023, the team reflected on the positive and negative aspects of changing to an 8-week programme. The positives included more time during the first session for families to settle their child with the childcare staff, increased time each session for reflection and goal setting and incorporation of the activity session. A negative aspect was due to the longer format less programmes would be delivered each year. It was decided the benefits outweighed the negatives so the NYLO family group programme would be changed to an 8-week format moving forward.

The positive feedback received from families following completion of the 6-week programme has continued following completion of the 8-week programme. 100% of families rated the programme as excellent or good. 78% of families who completed the programme reported feeling more confident to provide a healthy lifestyle for their family.

The following are examples of feedback received from families who attended the 8-week NYLO programme.

  • ‘Excellent course, very informative, really nice to feel supported, learning to make better choices for the whole family.’
  • NYLO programme is amazing, it helped me so much with parenting and how our family now eat. It also helped a lot for me and my diet.’
  • ‘I have loved this programme, I have found the support for myself and my son has been amazing. The changes we have made will benefit us as a family for years to come. Thank you.’
  • ‘Really useful for every family, it helped us a great deal.’

A common theme throughout the feedback from families was the feeling of being supported, support from other parents, solidarity and making new friends. This theme has been more apparent following completion of the 8-week programme.

The following is feedback from a team member who facilitates the NYLO sessions.

“I have found that delivering the NYLO group over 8 weeks rather than 6 weeks has better outcomes for both parents and facilitators. Having more time to deliver the programme means we are able to cover the topics in more depth, which gives parents a greater understanding. There is also greater rapport between the families and the facilitators.”

The childcare staff who look after the children have also fed back that they feel the longer NYLO programme aids child development further as the children get to know the staff better so feel more comfortable to take part in the activities.

Families are asked to complete a pre and post programme questionnaire. The distanced travelled data has improved following completion of the 8-week programme compared to the 6-week programme:

100% of families reported travelling a distance (at least 1 point for at least 2 measures). (92% 6-week programme)

81% of families reported their child was eating more fruit and vegetables (56% 6-week programme)

70% of families reported their child was eating less high fat and sugar foods and drinks (65% 6-week programme)

100% of families reported learning something new since attending the NYLO programme. The most common topics reported as being the most useful were learning about:

  • Correct portion sizes
  • Reading food labels
  • Healthy snacks

Other common feedback from families was feeling more confident around mealtimes and how to handle situations calmly.

The following feedback was received:

‘I am more relaxed around mealtimes.’

‘Learnt loads about myself and how to handle situations.’

‘I plan meals better, sit together for meals more and am calmer during mealtimes.’

The NYLO team continue to reflect on current practice and ways to improve the programme. Regular group reflection sessions are run to give an opportunity for staff to feedback on what is going well and any challenges. Following one of these sessions it was agreed to create a structured reflection form that can be completed by staff after each NYLO session to capture successes, what could be improved and any issues e.g. facilities/venue etc.

When asked if there was anything missing from the NYLO programme a few families commented they would have liked more support with meal planning and meal ideas. This feedback will be considered when reviewing the programme content.