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2008, Total Running Time 110 Minutes (2 x 55 Minutes)

The story continues for the children of The Life Series—now they are three—as they reveal what it takes to give a child the best chance at life.

Over two episodes Life at 3 measures our group of children against the latest scientific findings on two of the hottest topics in child development–obesity and bad behaviour. The Life Series is made in conjunction with a long-term study–Growing Up in Australia–in which 10,000 children have been placed under a sociological and scientific microscope. Combining powerful and intimate stories with cutting edge science, the series aims to reveal the secrets of child development.

The longitudinal study has found that 25 per cent of toddlers are already overweight or obese—the most significant health issue facing Australian children. Life at 3 seeks answers to the problem using the latest biological and behavioural science. Research also shows that children must start to learn how to control their behaviour at three if they are to perform well at school.

As the lives of these children unfold, we see whether the hopes of their parents and the predictions of the scientists match reality. Join us on the greatest journey of all—life.


Fighting Fat Discover why one in four toddlers is getting too fat and what it takes to keep a child a healthy weight.

Can science explain why quintuplet Ben, the tiniest of toddlers, is at risk of being overweight as an adult? Does looking into Joshua’s ancestry reveal why some kids eat too much? Will Shine be at risk of becoming obese simply because she lives in a low-income postcode? A longitudinal study of Australian children has found that biology is only part of the childhood obesity story.

Life at 3: Fighting Fat breaks the latest science on the biggest health issue facing Australian children. It pinpoints key factors–some surprising–about why our kids are getting too fat.

Bad Behaviour Investigates toddlers’ ability to control their behaviour, as science reveals that this has a significant impact on their success at school.

Using a simple experiment, we test the ability of five toddlers to control their behaviour. Will Declan’s good language skills and his father’s positive reinforcement help him to learn to curb his tantrums? Will Daniel’s resilience and his ability to focus his attention help him to survive a family tragedy? Science suggests that the 15% of children living apart from one parent are at the highest risk of bad behaviour. Is Wyatt destined to behave badly because his parents have split up?

Drawing on the latest scientific research on childhood behaviour Life at 3: Bad Behaviour shows how the ordinary and the most challenging hurdles of life can affect a child’s behaviour, and what they need to learn to control it.

A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Heiress Films. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.



Writer/Director: Catherine Marciniak

Producer: Jennifer Cummins

Narrator: Colin Friels

Featured People: Professor Stephen Zubrick, Professor Ann Sanson, Professor Gary Wittert, Professor Tim Olds

Year: 2008

Total Running Time: 110 Minutes

Classification: PG. Consumer advice: Mild themes, infrequent coarse language.

Curriculum Links: Biology, general science, Child & Family Services, Community & Family Studies, Exploring Early Childhood (Secondary), Early Childhood Studies (Tertiary), Health & Human Development, Psychology, Sociology, SOSE/HSIE and Values Education.


Life at 1

Myths of Childhood

Developing Child, The SERIES



SKU 200601200
Brand Film Australia

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