The CHErIsH (Choosing Healthy Eating for Infant Health) team are delighted to be commencing the next phase of their HRB-funded research on a pioneering intervention aimed at promoting healthy early infant feeding practices in primary care. This next phase seeks to explore the feasibility of the intervention, which will begin at the state-of-the-art Mallow Primary Healthcare Centre (MHPC) – one of the leading centres for primary healthcare in Ireland.
To mark the beginning of this exciting new phase of research, a special launch event was organised by the CHErIsH team at its feasibility site in Mallow. The event, held last week on Tuesday 12th March, featured a ‘launch lunch’, which was attended by healthcare practitioners (GPs and nurses) from the MPHC who will be involved in rolling out the intervention. Launching the event was Professor Patricia Kearney from the School of Public Health at UCC, who is Principal Investigator for the study, and Dr Tony Heffernan, a GP at the MPHC who is leading the study. Also attending the launch were members of the CHErIsH team – Dr Elaine Toomey from NUIG and Dr Caragh Flannery, Dr Kate O’Neill and Susan Calnan from UCC’s School of Public Health.
The feasibility study marks the latest phase of development and implementation of the CHErIsH intervention, which has been designed by a team of researchers from UCC, NUIG and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) – in partnership with practitioners at the MPHC, led by Dr Heffernan, the HSE Nurture Programme, and parents and primary caregivers from the CHErIsH public and patient involvement group. The multi-component intervention seeks to improve early infant (aged 0–2 years) feeding practices, such as breastfeeding and the introduction of solid foods, to improve health outcomes and reduce the risk of overweight and obesity in childhood and later life.
Speaking about this latest phase of the research, CHErIsH team member, Dr Elaine Toomey of NUIG, commented: ‘We are so delighted to be at this exciting stage of the CHErIsH study. It’s been a real honour to have worked so closely with the excellent team in Mallow and the HSE Nurture programme, to develop something that we think has the potential to make a valuable contribution to child health. We are really looking forward to learning as much as we can from this testing to inform the next steps of research’.
Results from the study will help to determine the feasibility of the intervention, which will informing further testing to determine the effectiveness of the intervention in other primary care sites. The CHErIsH team look forward to updating readers on more news about this pioneering intervention over the coming months.
By Susan Calnan