Health visitors and parents benefit from HENRY Training

In November 2019 the Commission funded service-wide HENRY (Healthy Exercise and Nutrition in the Really Young) training for local Health Visitors. The aim of the training was to increase Health Visitors’ knowledge, confidence and skills in providing early intervention and support to families, providing practical support on healthy eating, physical activity and parenting strategies to help them achieve and maintain healthy weight status. In summer 2020 we carried out a brief evaluation of the programme to monitor its early impact. 

14 Health Visitors (80% of those in post at the time) completed the training and filled out a questionnaire approximately six months later. We also collected qualitative feedback from the Health Visitors and parents who had received their support. 

The evaluation showed that following the training, Health Visitors reported feeling more confident and skilled in recognising risk factors to overweight and obesity and supporting families with healthy eating, physical activity and relationships with food. The strength’s focused approach as well as the learning, tools and resources from the training are being used frequently by the Health Visiting team as well as to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable families.

HENRY has become really integral part of my working life and the solution focussed aspect of Henry really helps me to support families on my caseload in a more productive way

Health Visitor

Feedback from families also highlighted how HENRY has made a difference:

My kids wouldn’t eat anything except what they wanted to. I had to cook three different meals each teatime. Now I cook one meal for everyone and they eat it. Even the veg. It has made life so much easier and I know how to handle their fussiness better

Sophie - who received HENRY messages and advice through our Fun with Food groups.

I used different reward systems instead of just a sticker chart. My Health Visitor taught me to involve everyone in something fun to make everyone feel good and work as a team. We built a Lego tower once that was too tall to add to in the end! The kids started praising each other and me. I use it for everything now – not just behaviour at mealtimes

Jo – Mum of two who received 1:1 support at home

I wish someone had given me advice about relaxing and going with it when they get to toddler age with my first. If I had known it is just offering the opportunity to eat rather than focusing on the amount they eat at every meal I would have enjoyed it as much as I enjoy mealtimes this time round. I focused so much on her having a full tummy and with him I focus on the variety I offer. I offer decent food and he eats if he is hungry and mealtimes aren’t a battle anymore. The portion size guide helped to reassure me that he is getting enough.

Philippa – who received advice at the 3.5 year development review clinic and telephone support

Our next step is to continue to maintain the skill levels within the Health Visiting team and further embed HENRY messages into universal and targeted services to support local families. We also plan to commission the Healthy Families group programme which will offer another setting for parents to receive support. This has been postponed due to COVID-19 and resulting travel restrictions, but in the meantime, we continue to liaise closely with the HENRY team around the possibility virtual training for professionals.

To read the full report click here and scroll down to “Resources”.