Daughters and Dads keeping active and healthy through exercise

Nov 25 2022

Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered Team

In 2021, the ‘Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered’ team took out the inaugural HMRI Foundations Research Team Excellence Award.

The award recognises an outstanding team of researchers who collectively demonstrate excellence in health and medical research for the well-being of communities and was an initiative championed by HMRI Foundation and HMRI Sydney Foundation.

“Our team are all kindred spirits,” said Professor Philip Morgan, the Lead Investigator of the program. “We’re passionate about gender equity, and we’re passionate about empowering girls through physical activity and positive father-involvement.”

Daughters and Dads is a multi-award-winning education program that targets fathers and father-figures to improve their daughter’s physical activity levels, sport skills and social-emotional wellbeing, and bring an evidence-based approach that addresses and challenges the culture of gender prejudice.

The innovative program has been rolled out across Australia and globally. It was recognised in 2022 by the World Health Organisation as an ‘inspirational and effective initiative to promote physical activity that has been implemented around the world’.

Philip acknowledges that the program’s success would not have been possible without initial seed funding provided by the Hunter Children’s Research Foundation (HCRF) in 2015.

“Before HCRF backed us, it was very challenging to seek funding for novel ideas. We had no data on the benefit of targeting Daughters and Dads but believed it was a worthwhile research endeavour.”

The results from that seed-funded research drew the attention of Port Waratah Coal Services who generously funded the next two stages of research.

In 2018, the NSW Minister of Sport announced four years of funding for the state-wide rollout of the program in partnership with the NSW Office of Sport including a Weekender program version at Sport and Recreation Centres.

Since then, Daughters and Dads has collaborated with Gymnastics NSW to deliver the original program and developed multiple sport-specific versions of the program, including collaborations with Cricket Australia, Basketball NSW, Northern NSW Football and Football NSW.

Internationally, Daughters and Dads have collaborated with Women in Sport-UK (2018–2021) and SPORTUNION- Austria (2022–2023).

Since it launched, more than 3100 Daughters and Dads have attended the program and over 380 educators have been trained as facilitators.

“That original seed funding in 2015 has meant we’ve been able to deliver this incredible program and make a difference to the lives of so many families!” said Philip. “And it’s home-grown here, at HMRI!”

Find out more about this award-winning program and all that they’re achieving here.


This story was taken from HMRI's Searcher Magazine - the Spring 2022 edition.