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September - October  2021

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Preventing obesity in childhood- what can Victorian local governments do?
14th October 9:30 – 11:30 am online
An interactive workshop on what Victorian local governments can do to promote healthy behaviours in early life.  The workshop includes discussions on how local government can build a case for and implement strategies to support a healthy lifestyle in early childhood. Relevant to those who work in early childhood health services or local government health planning in Victoria.  Register here.

National Dialogue on Addressing Obesity in Early Life  
Recording available
On 9th September, EPOCH CRE hosted an online national dialogue involving senior policymakers around Australia. The event showcased EPOCH CRE research works over the last five years followed by a discussion with policymakers on how early prevention of childhood obesity can be advanced in Australia.  A recording of the event can be accessed here.
Grants Success 

Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood - Translate (EPOCH-Translate CRE, 2022-2026)

We are excited to announce that EPOCH CRE has been awarded an NHMRC grant for a new Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood-Translate (2022-2026).  The new CRE, EPOCH-Translate, aims to identify and translate the most effective, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable approaches to preventing obesity and reducing obesity-related behaviours in children aged 0-5 years.  EPOCH-Translate CRE will have a strong focus on equity through tailoring interventions for priority populations, implementation science and capacity building. 
Investigator Grants

Congratulations to Professor Louise Baur (EPOCH-CRE Director) and Dr Anna Lene Seidler (EPOCH CRE Stream 1 lead) on their successful NHMRC Investigator Grants.
Prof Louise Baur has been awarded an NHMRC Leadership Level 3 Investigator Grant of $1.7 million to support research from 2022-2026. Louise’s vision is to lead an interdisciplinary program of research in preventing obesity in childhood and providing safe, effective treatments to children and adolescents living with obesity. The work will result in recommendations for targeting early childhood obesity prevention, personalised approaches to obesity treatment, and models of care and costings for paediatric obesity treatment in Australia. 
Dr Anna Lene Seidler has been awarded an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Level 1 Investigator Grant of $600,740 on the ‘NextGen evidence synthesis to maximise data utility and improve health outcomes’.  Lene’s research will develop ‘NextGen’ methods to determine the best ways to share data and exclude low-quality studies.  Her research program will enable the building of high-quality evidence needed to inform healthcare guidelines as well as improving the design of future trials.  Lene is also a Chief Investigator of the new EPOCH-Translate CRE where she will co-lead a program of work focusing on synthesising knowledge from a global alliance of early childhood obesity prevention trials.
Connecting the dots for Healthy Beginnings in early childhood (2021-2024)

Congratulations to the Healthy Beginnings team on the successful funding to develop resources for early childhood health practitioners and educators to support healthy lifestyle behaviours in young children. Read more.

Early and Mid-Career researchers awarded at the Australian New Zealand Obesity Society Conference 2021

Congratulations to Dr Miaobing (Jazzmin) Zheng and Ms Kylie Hunter on their awards by the Australian New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS).
Jazzmin was awarded a ‘Young Investigator Award’ for her outstanding contribution to obesity research.  Jazzmin presented at the ANZOS Virtual Conference 2021. Her talk was titled " Early nutrition, rapid growth and childhood obesity".  She provided an overview of her career path and current work program on the dietary and behavioural determinants of rapid growth and obesity development in early childhood. 
Kylie was awarded the ‘Best ANZOS Early Career Research Oral Presentation Award, Public Health’ for her presentation entitled Sustainability of effects of early childhood obesity prevention interventions: follow-up of an individual participant data prospective meta-analysis of four randomised controlled trials.  Read more about Kylie’s work here.
Tall Poppy Awards

EPOCH-CRE deputy director, Professor Kylie Hesketh, was awarded the prestigious 2021 Victorian Young Tall Poppy Award given by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS).  The award recognises scientists who combine excellent research and communication to achieve a community impact.  The award is a wonderful recognition of Kylie’s outstanding work in promoting health behaviours in early childhood.  She co-developed the INFANT program, to support first-time parents with developing healthy eating and active play habits in their young children. Congratulations Kylie!
New Papers

Do broad population early obesity prevention trials meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse participants?

EPOCH-CRE PhD candidate, Sarah Marshall, investigated participants’ engagement, satisfaction, retention and behavioural outcomes in the Healthy Beginnings program. Healthy Beginnings program is a nurse-led intervention to support families with optimal infant feeding and active play via telephone in Sydney. The findings showed less favourable engagement and outcomes among participants who spoke a language other than English at home. This study highlighted the importance of cultural adaptations to improve program engagement and effectiveness among culturally and linguistically diverse families.  Read more.
Marshall, S,  Xu, H,  Taki, S,  Laird, Y,  Love, P,  Wen, LM, et al.  Engagement, satisfaction, retention and behavioural outcomes of linguistically diverse mothers and infants participating in an Australian early obesity prevention trial. Health Promot J Austral.  2021; 00: 1– 11. 


Attitudes, motivation and barriers to data sharing

‘Sharing is caring’, so the saying goes.  But how does it apply to data sharing?  EPOCH-CRE Stream 1 lead, Dr Anna Lene Seidler, and her team went through recently registered clinical trial registration records and examined data sharing plans and principal investigators’ attitudes, motivations and barriers to data sharing.  The findings showed high in-principle support for the concept of data sharing but low in-practice intention to share data.  Several recommendations proposed to address barriers to data sharing.  Read more.
Tan, AC,  Askie, LM,  Hunter, KE,  Barba, A,  Simes, RJ,  Seidler, AL.  Data sharing—trialists' plans at registration, attitudes, barriers and facilitators: A cohort study and cross-sectional survey. Research Synthesis Methods.  2021; 12( 5): 641– 657

Protocol for the development of Core Outcome Sets for Early intervention trials to Prevent Obesity in Children (COS-EPOCH)

Early childhood obesity prevention intervention trials vary widely in the outcomes measured.  This limits comparability of findings between studies and contributes to research waste.  EPOCH-CRE researcher, Dr Vicki Brown, is leading the development of two core outcome sets for early obesity prevention interventions in children aged under 5 years. Read more. 
Brown V, Moodie M, Tran HNQ, et al. Protocol for the development of Core Outcome Sets for Early intervention trials to Prevent Obesity in CHildren (COS-EPOCH). BMJ Open 2021;11:e048104.

Association of tummy time with active playtime, screen and sleep time in early childhood

Practices of tummy time in the first six months are associated with favourable gross motor development and skills in infancy.  A new study has shown that starting tummy time earlier and more frequently is also associated with better movement and sleep at 12 and 24 months of age.  Read more.  
Buchanan, L., Xu, H., Hewitt, L., Taki, S., & Wen, L. M. (2021). A Longitudinal Analysis Examining the Associations of Tummy Time With Active Playtime, Screen Time, and Sleep Time, Journal of Physical Activity and Health18(10), 1215-1222.
Evidence Briefs
Over the last five years EPOCH CRE has conducted numerous policy and practice relevant research on various aspects of early life childhood obesity prevention approaches.  The vast body of work has been summarised and distilled to digestible key messages in five evidence briefs.  These briefs would be of interest to policymakers, health practitioners and researchers interested in early childhood health. Read more.  

Postdoctoral  research associate / fellow Academic Level A/B
NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, Evidence Integration Group

We are seeking expressions of interest for the position of a post-doctoral research fellow. This position will contribute to a range of projects using NextGen evidence synthesis methodologies and conducting meta-research.
Projects will include, for example, finding and implementing ideal strategies in childhood obesity prevention interventions with the TOPCHILD collaboration, assessing eating disorder risk in obesity treatment, and conducting meta-research to find and reduce reasons for research waste and increase collaboration and coordination in research.
The role will include work on individual participant data meta-analyses with large data sets, but also working with a large number of international collaborators and other stakeholders. The successful applicant will combine quantitative research skills with excellent communication and scientific writing skills. Experience in research implementation and communication with a broad range of stakeholders (e.g. policy makers, consumers) is desirable, but not necessary.
This is a research-only position, based at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre. The successful applicant will be working in the NextGen Evidence Synthesis team within the Evidence Integration Team ( ). Training will be provided, and there will be opportunity to develop NextGen evidence synthesis specialist skills, and to attend academic conferences to present project work. The successful applicant will be expected to make an active contribution to papers and new grant submissions arising from this work.
The successful applicant will have
  • a strong research background including a PhD qualification and competitive publication track record in a relevant field (systematic reviews, obesity, neonatology, epidemiology, public health, quantitative research or biostatistics).
  • formal qualifications in research methods, such as Masters level qualifications in epidemiology, biostatistics or public health is highly desired
  • ability to work independently, conceive, initiate, organize and manage projects
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Candidates without these formal qualifications but who have demonstrated experience may also be considered.
This position is offered up to full-time, fixed term (37.5 hours per week) and is available for 12 months, with the possibility of renewal for up to three years. For the right candidate, part time or scaled hours will be considered.
Please direct any enquiries to Anna Lene Seidler, on with details of experience and qualifications by 8 October 2021.
To find out more visit:

Funding Sources

The Centre for Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (EPOCH) is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC ID:APP1001675) from 2016-2020.

Additional funding to support the CRE - EPOCH  comes from the following agencies:
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • University of South Australia
  • The University of Sydney
  • Sydney Local Health District (NSW Health)
  • NSW Ministry of Health
We would like to thank them for their contributions.

Copyright © 2021 Centre for Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood, All rights reserved.

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