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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. 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 children's health

HENRY 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.


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 Healthy Families: Growing up

This 8-week programme is a group session for parents and carers of children aged 5 to 12-years-old. This course aims to help you to build healthy family habits:

  • session 1 - what's a healthy family?
  • session 2 - a healthy balance
  • session 3 - understanding children's behaviour
  • session 4 - being a parent
  • session 5 - healthy swaps
  • session 6 - family mealtimes
  • session 7 - negotiating family agreements
  • session 8 - children growing older

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

HENRY fussy eating online workshop for parents and carers of children aged 18 months to 5 years

Fed up with stressful mealtimes? Come along and get some new ideas to encourage your young one to try and enjoy new foods, so you can enjoy eating together as a family.

This course will help you:

  • to improve and create relaxed family mealtimes while reducing the feeling of stress for the whole family
  • encourage your child to try new foods and broaden the range of foods that they eat.
  • notice the signs when children have had enough to eat

Sessions will be delivered via Microsoft Teams lasting 1 hour 30 minutes.

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.

For more information on family healthy lifestyles visit Live Life Better Derbyshire.

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."

HENRY courses

To take part in a HENRY course, visit the Live Life Better Derbyshire website.


For more information, email