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Health, exercise and nutrition for the really young (HENRY)

The HENRY programmes are free to join and help you give your child the best possible start in life.

Everyone wants the best for their children but it can be hard to know what to do as a parent in the early years. That's where HENRY can help.

HENRY is a unique intervention to support parents and carers to give their child a healthy, happy start in life and tackle child obesity. The evidence is compelling, the early years are critical to the future of every child in terms of their health, wellbeing, learning and social development. HENRY has a holistic approach which enables children to flourish throughout childhood and beyond.

Research shows that the key ingredients to ensuring babies and children have a healthy start in life are:

  • parenting confidence
  • physical activity for little ones
  • what children and families eat
  • family lifestyle habits
  • enjoying life as a family

Transforming approach to obesity

HENRY is the UK's leading charity dedicated to protecting babies and young children from the health and emotional consequences of obesity, throughout childhood and beyond. We are transforming traditional approaches to obesity prevention through successful intervention at the start of life.


HENRY healthy families - right from the start

Eight weekly group sessions for parents and carers.

  • week 1 - decide what changes you want to make and set your own goals
  • week 2 - how to juggle life with young children so you all get what you need
  • week 3 - how to respond to children's needs without giving in to all their demands
  • week 4 - positive mealtime tips for a happy family – reducing mealtime stress for everyone
  • week 5 - ideas for active play to help children learn, develop and stay happy
  • week 6 - food groups, food labels, portion sizes for under 5s, first foods, and snack swaps
  • week 7 - understanding and managing your child's behaviour for a happier home
  • week 8 - celebrate your success as a parent and plan the future for your family

HENRY starting solids

This 2 hour workshop is also available to professionals. A starting solids workshop will help get your baby off to a great start. The workshop will help you decide:

  • when your baby is ready to try solid foods
  • what foods to start with
  • when your baby is hungry and when they've had enough
  • how to make mealtimes an enjoyable experience for both of you

Healthy eating and active workshop

We are inviting families with children of primary school age to book to attend this new, free, workshop. Ideally we would like to see both adults and children attending together to encourage everyone to get thinking about lifestyles, cooking together and physical activities. Unfortunately we are unable to take bookings for unaccompanied children.

This practical 3 hour workshop will look at:

  • let's get to know - a chance for participants to think about their current lifestyle and what they might like to see change
  • let's get cooking - focusing on healthy eating support, including preparing healthy recipes together
  • let's get active - a group physical activity with follow-up craft exercises to complete at home

HENRY a healthy start in childcare

This is a one day training session for early years, social care and health professionals. This course recognises that childcare settings play a vital role in providing a healthy start for young children and enables staff to:

  • adopt a consistent approach and model a healthy lifestyle to young children in their care
  • develop their knowledge about healthy meals, snacks and portion sizes for young children
  • understand the value of active play
  • manage behaviour and build self-esteem, so that children start school emotionally prepared and ready to learn

Research has shown that:

  • HENRY training results in positive changes to policy and practice in early years settings, including age appropriate portion sizes, healthy snacks and strengthened team working
  • practitioners continue to use their knowledge and skills gained many years after the HENRY training
  • practitioners make sustained personal changes to develop a healthier lifestyle

Healthy eating and lifestyles for families

This interactive e-learning course is designed for anyone interested in improving their eating habits and lifestyle. It also supports people to think about the importance of being active with hints and tips to do so. We hope you enjoy the experience and its first step to making positive changes. The e-learning takes around 45 minutes to complete.

This course will help you:

  • understand more about what you eat, diet advice and food portion sizes
  • find suggestions for activities and ideas for developing this learning with children

Apply if you are:

  • parents or carers
  • early years and childcare staff
  • health and social care staff
  • children's centre staff
  • foster carers
  • food bank staff
  • primary school and nursery staff
  • NHS staff
  • Volunteers working in these services

Additional services

For additional child health services visit Derbyshire Family Health Service which includes details of the NHS Derbyshire Community health visiting service for children aged 0 to 5.

Emotional health and mental wellbeing affect all aspects of our lives and health choices. The NHS Derby and Derbyshire emotional health and wellbeing toolkit is available for professionals, members of the public, children and young people who wish to access local services or just require further information on the services that are available to them.

HENRY is for anyone with a baby or young child

Every parent who joins learns something new and useful. If you have at least one child under 5 years old and can answer yes to any of the following questions then HENRY is for you:

  • would you like to feel more confident as a parent?
  • would you like some support to give your child a healthy start?
  • do you wish your child would eat more fruit and vegetables?
  • would you like to reduce mealtime stress?
  • would you enjoy being active together as a family more often?
  • are you interested in some ideas to get children away from the TV?

What other parents say about HENRY

In Derbyshire 96% of parents rated the programmes as "good" or "great!" and would "definitely recommend" the programmes to other families.

"Great group, great advice and it helped no end."

"It was so good knowing that I'm not alone. The group was brilliant. We had a lot of fun and sharing experiences helped to improve my wellbeing and parenting skills."

"It was great getting support from the group. I feel less stressed about my parenting choices, I focus more on positives."

Training for professionals

The HENRY approach can equip practitioners to help families and young children experiencing health inequalities and make a difference to support family wellbeing around a healthy start, weaning and parenting choices.

The HENRY programme is the strongest evidence-base currently available in the UK. Independent studies have shown children and parents make and sustain significant lifestyle changes after participating in the group programme.

Helping families adopt a healthier lifestyle depends largely on practitioner skill in building parents' confidence and motivation to make changes. Most of our training is free to you.

Apply if you are:

  • early years and childcare staff
  • health and social care staff
  • children's centre staff
  • foster carers
  • food bank staff
  • primary school and nursery staff
  • NHS staff
  • volunteers working in these services

Training location

HENRY programmes and training will operate across Derbyshire and are likely to be held in local children centres, community rooms, and adult and community education centres. When you apply to Derbyshire HENRY we'll give you more information about where and when these sessions are held.

Due to the coronavirus, most HENRY programmes are on hold for the time being however you can still apply and be registered on our waiting list. We will contact you when programmes in your area are ready to start.

Book a HENRY workshop

Once you've chosen your HENRY course and submitted your application, you’ll be contacted to advise where and when the nearest HENRY programme is.


For more information, email

Tel: 01629 532057 or 01629 536456