Development of a toddler NutriSTEP® : Importance of community connections
NutriSTEP® (Nutrition Risk Screening Tool for Every Preschooler) is a questionnaire that can be completed by parents of 3-5 year old children that provides a score on nutrition risk. NutriSTEP® was developed jointly by the Sudbury & District Health Unit and University of Guelph. Development involved many community partners: public health units, community health centers, Family Health Teams, and Registered Dietitians. Since the launch of NutriSTEP® there have been requests for a toddler version. A number of students and dietetic interns are currently involved in the development of Toddler NutriSTEP®. The current phase of development is taking place through Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Northern Ontario Dietetic Intern Program and in Southern Ontario in collaboration with HPHS and YRCHS. Other collaborators include Perth District Health Unit and Hospital for Sick Children. For more than 10 years now, community partnerships have been key in this research that has culminated in a provincially-mandated program for nutrition risk screening for young children that is coordinated by the Nutrition Resource Centre of the Ontario Public Health Association. The importance of maintaining relationships with partners and collaborators has been sustained throughout this decades-long project as many were also partners in the original NutriSTEP® project.