The aim of 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.  An important aim of the programme is to the make the programme as accessible for families as possible and to provide equal opportunities for all families.

The NYLO programme, developed by Cardiff and Vale UHB, Public Health Dietitians is delivered over 6, 2 hour weekly sessions.  Families with children aged 5 or under can self-refer onto the programme or be referred by a health professional. 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 and tips to save time and money.   Parents attend with their child but the child attends their own activity sessions run by registered childcare staff in which the child takes part in a programme of different food activities and active play.  The activities are designed for children to learn about healthy foods and increase exposure to different foods.  Each session ends with a healthy family snack time.    Families can also attend a Family Activity Session on a different day delivered by play/sport coaches.

Working in partnership

During NYLO group sessions, the Young Children and Parents’ Project have provided a childcare service and play activities and the Family activity sessions have been provided by Sport Cardiff.

When required the Wales Interpretation and Translation Service are able to provide a relevant translator to attend the NYLO sessions to support families where English is not their first language.

Example of the NYLO programme in action

Following referral by the School Nurse, initial contact was made by the NYLO team by telephone with the mother of a 4 year old child who was willing to attend a local NYLO group. To help the family engage fully in the sessions, with consent, an interpreter was booked with the Wales Interpretation and Translation Service for all of the sessions. The Service were able to provide a Czech interpreter at short notice and offer the same interpreter for each of the sessions. This helped to build rapport between the interpreter and the family. The family attended 6 out of the 6 group sessions and all 5 of the family activity sessions. With the use of the interpreter, the mother was able to join in on group discussions and activities and ask questions at future NYLO sessions. Upon completion of the programme the mother expressed her enthusiasm for the course and requested to be enrolled in the ‘Get Cooking’ Programme. This is an 8-week practical cooking course which reinforces healthy eating messages while developing cooking skills.

Family feedback

The family rated the programme ‘Excellent’ and reported they had made a number of lifestyle changes since attending the programme specifically

‘I don’t put the TV on, cut down on sugar and replace with fruit, cook more with vegetables and keep offering meat and fish and repeatedly giving it.’

From the NYLO pre-group and post-group questionnaire the family made a number of lifestyle changes:

  • Reducing the number of high sugar foods and drinks per day from 3 to 0
  • Reducing the number of high fat foods per day from 3 to 1
  • Activity levels also increase from 2 hours to 3 hours per day
  • The time spend in front of a screen reduced from 3 hours to 1 hour per day.

When asked about the programme the family reported they found the resources helpful and that there was not anything missing from the programme.

‘I learnt what are the right portions, about how to check sugar, fat and salt and not forcing children to eat.’

‘Yes, I will read through websites and use traffic light system and food scanner in the shop.’

‘I was very happy with NYLO leaders, very helpful and I’m very grateful and sorry that it the end.’

Follow Up and learning

From a telephone call 1 month after completing the programme the family report they had maintained these changes stating that their child rarely eats foods high in fat or sugar. They have also maintained their level of activity remaining active for an average of 3 hours per day. The time spend in front of a screen has further decreased to less than 1 hour per day. The family report their confidence score continues to be 7 (0 being very low and 10 being very high).

This family benefited from all aspects of the NYLO programme including the group nutrition and activity sessions through the use of the interpretation service. Through partnership working, families are able to benefit from an evidence-based programme which includes elements of nutrition, activity and play delivered by qualified professionals. These components side by side allow for not only dietary changes but also to improve activity and lifestyle which are essential to preventing and tackling obesity.

The increase in confidence reported likely contributed to the family being able to make these changes which included offering more fruit and vegetables and less high sugar and high fat foods.

By accessing the NYLO programme the family then expressed their interest in other programmes especially ‘Get Cooking’. This will not only reinforce healthy eating messages, it will also develop the families cooking skills which can support long term changes. The family have continued to access the service which caters to nutritional needs throughout the lifespan.

For further information about the NYLO programme visit