Building healthy habits together

A co-designed, informative and interactive online program for Queensland families to improve nutrition, physical activity and wellbeing.

About Podsquad

Podsquad is a free, play-based wellbeing program helping children aged 5-12 years and their families as they build healthy habits together.

The Podsquad app supports lasting change by exploring the topics of nutrition, physical activity, and sleep through a behavioural science framework. Its content has been developed by childhood health experts and co-designed with more than 300 Queensland families.

How does Podsquad work?


Healthy meals and snacks
Drinking enough water
Trying new foods


Outdoor physical activity
Indoor active play


Regular bed and wake routines
Winding down before sleep

Using Podsquad in clinical practice

Podsquad provides Queensland’s health professionals with a free, universally available referral option for chronic disease prevention and early intervention that can be used across clinical settings.

Podsquad can be used as a:
• Universal prevention tool – for example, by having Podsquad posters on display in consultation rooms, or by talking with families about the app.
• Waitlist option – for example, by including the website link in clinic letters, encouraging families to use the app while they await their appointment.
• Adjunct to active treatment – for example, as a source of engaging and educational resources to support your patients’ clinical goals.

Download promotional resources from our stakeholder kit to share Podsquad with families you work with. The kit includes:
• Posters, fact sheets, and brochures
• Colouring-in sheets
• Social media videos and graphics.

Evidence-informed program design

Existing evidence

Family-based prevention programs are an effective method of facilitating health behaviour change for children, as parents and carers are key influencers of a child’s learning environments and are primary role models for health-related behaviours [1-3]. Multi-component programs that apply behaviour change strategies are considered best practice in the literature [1-3].

Online platforms can offer a cost-effective and scalable method of program delivery that overcomes common barriers to accessing services including geography, accessibility, time constraints, availability, and fear of judgement [4, 5]. Interventions using gamification to target nutrition behaviours among children and adolescents have demonstrated increased program adherence, knowledge, self-efficacy, and nutrition-related health behaviours in the short term [6].

New research

Our experts have published two research papers that informed Podsquad’s development.

Research with parents and health professionals found a strong preference for interactive content, gamification, and practical resources to translate knowledge into practice [7]. This study was led by our research partners at The University of Queensland.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland conducted a rapid review of the impact of family-based digital interventions for obesity prevention and treatment in primary school aged children [8]. The review found that digital interventions were effective in improving diet and physical activity in children, with emerging evidence supporting the use of social media and gaming to enhance program delivery.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland, in collaboration with The University of Queensland, will continue to conduct research evaluating Podsquad’s effectiveness and informing future program development.

Co-design and real-life testing with families

Over 300 children aged 5-12 years and their families have been engaged so far to co-design the Podsquad app, with a focus on families from diverse backgrounds and locations across Queensland.

Early user feedback with 78 children and their families provided the following insights on the Podsquad content:

  • Comprehension of Podsquad content: Children demonstrated a high level of accurate comprehension of the Podsquad animated video messaging.
  • Intention to change behaviour: 60% of children intended to do something different as a result of watching a Podsquad video.

We look forward to working with targeted groups in our community to create additional content to ensure Podsquad is effective for every Queensland family.

Consultation with health experts and cross-industry professionals

The program has been informed by significant engagement with cross-industry professionals throughout Queensland with extensive knowledge in nutrition, movement science, sleep medicine, early childhood education, diabetes, languages and literacy, the performing arts, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, research, behavioural science, and prevention programs.

Get involved

We need your help to ensure the Podsquad program continues to be developed in collaboration with childhood health professionals.

Frequently asked questions

Our Experts

The Podsquad program has been developed in collaboration with clinicians and childhood health subject matter experts as well as co-designed with kids aged 5 to 12 and their families.


Enright G, Allman-Farinelli M, Redfern J. Effectiveness of family-based behaviour change interventions on obesity-related behaviour change in children: A realist synthesis. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:4099. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17114099

Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. World Health Organization: Geneva, Switzerland, 2016.

Waters E, de Silva Sanigorski A, Hall BJ, et al. Interventions for preventing obesity in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011;12:1-212. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001871.pub4

Smith KL, Straker LM, McManus A, Fenner AA. Barriers and enablers for participation in healthy lifestyle programs by adolescents who are overweight: A qualitative study of the opinions of adolescents, their parents and community stakeholders. BMC Pediatr 2014;14:53. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2431-14-53

Azevedo LB, Stephenson J, Ells L, et al. The effectiveness of e-health interventions for the treatment of overweight or obesity in children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev 2021;23:e13373. DOI: 10.1111/obr.13373

Suleiman-Martos, N., et al., Gamification for the Improvement of Diet, Nutritional Habits, and Body Composition in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 2021. 13(7): p. 2478. DOI: 10.3390/nu13072478

Walker JL, Dix C, Hardt J, Farletti R, Littlewood R. What Do Health Professionals and Parents Want as Part of an Online Childhood Obesity Prevention Program? Child Obes. 2023;19(2):88-101. DOI: 10.1089/chi.2021.0313

Chai LK, Farletti R, Fathi L, Littlewood R. A Rapid Review of the Impact of Family-Based Digital Interventions for Obesity Prevention and Treatment on Obesity-Related Outcomes in Primary School-Aged Children. Nutrients, 2022;14(22):4837. DOI: 10.3390/nu14224837