This Entry has been submitted.


New Zealand
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Families on steadygrow detect their child's rapid weight gain early and can tweak their healthy eating and active behaviours to avoid frank obesity.

About You
Project Street Address

4181 State Highway 6

Project City


Project Province/State


Project Postal/Zip Code


Project Country
Your idea
Year organization founded:


Year initiative began:


Service/activity focus:


If Service/activity focus is "other" please define in 1-2 words below:

child obesity prevention

YouTube Upload
What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?

Families on steadygrow detect their child's rapid weight gain early and can tweak their healthy eating and active behaviours to avoid frank obesity.

Describe what makes your idea unique--different from all others in the field.

Children's Body Mass Index (BMI) charts are not simple!
Steadygrow is the BMI and it is simple, combining height and weight into professional bmi advice through an online program.
Obesity prevention needs early recognition, which parents are poor at. Steadygrow provides this, and motivates action for long term impact.
A child's weight trajectory is more important than a single weight. Steadygrow collects this legacy.
Holding weight steady, and 'growing into it' is a key message yet only steadygrow tells for how long I need to do this with my child. BMI charts can't say.
Professionals avoid the term 'obese'. Steadygrow introduces a non-judgmental alternative; weightzones: A1(green) is the 'most healthy' weightzone (BMI 5-84th C).
Measuring is not the enemy. Steadygrow encourages respectful weighing, change through healthy eating and activity, and the seeking of medical support early. Steadygrow is the missing link in the family tool box for long term weight management of our children

Do you have any existing partnerships, and if so, how did you create them?

Steadygrow is entering the partnership phase now, looking to both Australia and New Zealand. Initial focus is on endorsement from large health promoting organizations such as the National Heart Foundation, The Cancer Society, the Diabetes Groups and the Colleges of Family physicians.
Maori, Polynesian and Aboriginal Health agencies will also be approached as steadygrow is also being designed to be run on behalf of individuals, by such organizations.

In which sector do these partners work? (Check all that apply)

Private sector , Public sector (government) , Academic sector (universities).

Provide one sentence describing your impact/intended impact.

This simple, preventive strategy of early intervention will resonate with parents and lead to a reduction in childhood overweight and obesity.

Please list any other measures of the impact of your innovation.

Weightzone terminology is intuitive and compelling and will create a nidus for new and positive discussions in the media.
Increased parental awareness of weightzones: ('I wonder what Jo's weightzone is?')
Greater receptivity to health messages as families personalize them through the objectivity of steadygrow: ('Jo is in the A3 weightzone. This information is important for us')
With steadygrow weightzones, health professionals' confidence will grow and inspire parents to act. The steadygrow platform allows parents to monitor local programs they choose to try because steadygrow is the ultimate in feedback specifically regarding obesity prevention.
Steadygrow includes waist circumference measurement. Knowledge of this important marker will grow.
Steadygrow is based on US BMI charts but can be adapted. Its impact will be seen in its spread through different regions.
Young people's body confidence will increase using the steadygrow approach from a young age.

Is there a policy intervention element to your innovation?

Reducing obesity is a priority objective in the 2000 NZ Health Strategy and in 2007 the Australian government prioritized obesity prevention as a National Health Priority Area, however there is little evidence about what public policies work to substantially reduce child obesity and there have been calls for more innovative approaches.
Steadygrow is not only an innovative tool for child obesity prevention but is also a user friendly new method for monitoring other schemes that are put in place.

How many people does your innovation serve or plan to serve? Exactly who will benefit from your innovation?

2 initial targets will benefit;
1. Health workers interested in obesity prevention, who are currently uncertain of their ability to discuss this, and offer simple and measurable goals to families at risk.
2. Parents who are overweight, and, via them, their children, with a focus on younger children in whom the opportunities for prevention are greater.
Given about 50% of families with an overweight parent, and births, in Australasia, of 325K per year; at 10% uptake, this is about 16K, initially.

What is the key decision that you are trying to influence through your innovation/design?

“Is it safe for me to find out if my child is, or isn't, at their healthy weight, and how can I do this and still avoid the possibility of having my child labelled as obese?
And if I make changes, how will I know if all our effort is working?”

What have you learned about how people respond to your innovation/design?

People focus on eating and activity. When enlightened about steadygrow's aims and approach a light goes on as they realize how steadygrow complements, rather than replaces other approaches.
Individuals become motivated and empowered using steadygrow as they grasp the value of the feedback they are getting and the repository they are creating.
Problematically, Health is resistant to new terminology that has not been formally sanctioned; but no body holds the power of sanction in our countries.

How is your initiative financed (or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)?

Until now I have financed steadygrow myself. A prototype has been developed and trialled over the past few years. I am now in the process of upgrading the platform and charting capabilities and formally introducing the alternative weightzone terminology.
I am considering approaching Big Food companies to come on board financially in a 'performance based regulation' approach to obesity prevention.
Other options include subscriptions financed by health providers using preventive health dollars. Steadygrow is an ideal vehicle for providing funders with quick and accurate statistical feedback.
Health Insurance funds will be lobbied to provide cover for steadygrow under their preventive health mantle.

Financing source
Annual budget

Personal financing available determines annual budget during this start up phase

Annual revenue generated

Steadygrow is moving into its revenue generating phase at present.

Number of staff (full-time, part-time, volunteers)

Presently myself, and a computer programmer working part time.

What are the main financial barriers, and how do you plan to address them?

My main barrier is generating funding to seek buy-in from the potential partners outlined above, who are key to growing steadygrow to a new level of recognition. Perseverance and hard work are my most important tools.
Initiatives such as this one, which help put steadygrow in the public eye, help.
Once the site is upgraded, a small number of signups will provide enough early income to generate sustainability. Seeking and acting on their feedback will be crucial to generating repeat custom.

Aside from financial sustainability, how do you plan to grow and scale the initiative?

Steadygrow has been designed for rapid scalability from a computing perspective.
Targeting of different ethnic groups, languages and age groups (specifically, babies and adults) is planned.
Steadygrow is ideal for incorporating new technologies of data capture and feedback as they become available and is flexible enough to accommodate new measurement methods, growing ultimately into a personal interactive health database encompassing all aspects of health, growth and development.

The Story
What was the motivation or defining moment that led to the creation of this innovation? Tell the story.

“Physical Examination: She is obese and talks a lot about her symptoms”. This is the damning wording used by the consulting neurologist to describe a patient I cared for. As a doctor, I was appalled at this use of “fact” to paint a negative picture that went way beyond the physical, and which would sit in this young woman’s medical file for the rest of her life. Even more notable was that the patient had not, in fact, been weighed!
Obesity stigmatization is entrenched and on this day I knew we needed a non-judgmental alternative. I have often seen health professionals interviewed about child obesity engage in linguistic gymnastics to avoid the term “obese” at any cost, but when we avoid the term like this, we give the message that there is something shameful about obesity. I searched for an alternative that I would feel comfortable using, and thus arose the steadygrow weightzones.
Some years ago as I discussed the concept of holding weight steady and growing into it, a 10 year old girl said “so I don’t have to lose weight?” “No” I said, follow the ideas we have talked about, and as you grow taller, your weight will come into a healthier balance with your height.” “I can do that” she said enthusiastically, “but how long do I have to hold steady, to grow into my weight?” As I looked at the BMI chart on the table, it occurred to me that this question, clearly an important aspect in the motivation of this young girl, was impossible to answer…
And thus, steadygrow was born

Please name and provide a personal bio of the social innovator behind this initiative.

Dr Felicity Breen is a New Zealand born, Australian trained specialist paediatrician with over 23 years’ experience as a doctor.
In addition to creating the steadygrow program, Dr Breen works in clinical paediatrics in rural Australasia, dealing with both hospital inpatients and outpatients, often seeing young people with unrecognized obesity and no support.
She also has a family history of obesity associated morbidity and has seen first hand the torment of people afflicted by this combination.

At what stage is this initiative?

Implementation and impact .

What resources would you need to take your initiative to the next stage?

I need experienced programming support, and the funding to pay for this if possible, to update the charting code to reflect the steadygrow weightzones and to utilize new technologies in web design that have arisen since steadygrow was first designed.
As I am funding the project myself through my clinical work, the more funding I can access the more time I will be able to devote to marketing steadygrow and growing a like-minded team, and this is what I really want to be doing right now.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (Confidential)

2 weeks ago spam arrived with the tagline ‘Battling childhood obesity… An interview with Robert Wood Johnson’s CEO’. I hadn’t heard of RWJ!
I followed the link and found your competition.
I read your criteria and knew I had to enter.
The catch was that the next day I was flying to Australia to do medical work for 2 weeks; I got back yesterday…
Steadygrow is outside the square, and just as we nudge people into good health decisions, you will help me nudge potential partners to support steadygrow

File attachments: