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April 2019

The CRE-EPOCH brings together researchers, practitioners and policy-makers from Australia, New Zealand and England to work collaboratively on approaches to prevention of obesity in children aged 0 to 5 years. For further details, please see our website:
Obesity syndemics, systems and summits...
In 2015, the second Lancet Series on Obesity editorial concluded that the “little progress had been made beyond acknowledging that obesity is a worldwide problem”.  This prompted the Lancet Commission on Obesity, which changed direction over its three years of development to address the wider context of three co-existing pandemics simultaneously - obesity, under-nutrition and climate change. Hot on its heels came the launch of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health focusing on sustainable food systems to provide a healthy diet while minimising planetary damage . 
These scientific reports are key documents to consider in the upcoming debate and design of an Obesity Strategy for Australia, which kicked off this year with the Obesity Summit held in Canberra on 15 February. The 1-day meeting provided a comprehensive overview of perspectives from clinicians, academics and policy-makers touching on the need for multidisciplinary care models, physical activity and diet; the importance of the first 2000 days; stigma and eating disorders; population health initiatives; technological advances; and the role of pharmacotherapies. The main take-home message from the Summit was for policy-makers to look to the abundance of evidence available regarding effective and cost-effective obesity prevention interventions and to act. The development of the National Obesity Strategy (inclusive of a National Nutrition Strategy) is now in the hands of Queensland Health, jurisdictional lead.

The Obesity Collective (an initiative of Obesity Australia) is providing strong advocacy around this issue, providing a unified voice and ensuring it remains a priority.

Alessandro Demaio also recently addressed the National press Club, imploring government to “step up”, invest in prevention and develop a comprehensive plan for prevention – read more

Funding Success...
Infant Program
The real world implementation and evaluation of the Infant Program is now a reality!  A 5-year NHMRC Partnership Grant has been awarded to Prof Karen Campbell and colleagues to implement the Infant Program at scale, and assess effectiveness and cost-effectiveness as well as barriers and enablers to program implementation and integration. The translation of the Infant Program from research to practice is described in this recent article
Read More
A/Prof Kylie Hesketh and colleagues were awarded a 5-year NHMRC Project Grant in the 2019 round to trial a smartphone-delivered program for parents of two-year-old children. The program will empower parents to ensure their child has more active play, less time sitting and adequate sleep. The team comprises experts in physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep, parenting, early childhood, information technology, health economics, statistics and translational science. This is particularly exciting for two of the EPOCH Early Career Researchers, Dr Victoria Brown and Dr Katherine Downing, for whom this is their first Chief Investigator role on an NHMRC funded project. Researchers met for the first planning meeting in Melbourne in March
A new model for evaluation of interventions to prevent obesity in early childhood...
This newly developed health economic (micro-simulation) model is a first to predict BMI and obesity trajectories over childhood and adolescence (4-15years). Perfect timing for a tool to assist policy-makers in identifying where and when to intervene in childhood, and most cost-effective approaches to use
Read More
Breastfeeding duration and growth pattern during infancy...
Rapid Infant weight gain has been linked with higher subsequent obesity risk. It is hypothesized that the slower growth of breastfeeding infants may protect against the development of overweight or obesity. A recent systematic review on any breastfeeding duration and growth pattern during infancy revealed that longer breastfeeding duration was inversely associated with weight gain during infancy in populations from developed countries. In contrast, conflicting evidence was shown in populations from developing countries. Future studies on breastfeeding and growth pattern beyond infancy in both developed and developing settings are needed to better understand the association between breastfeeding and child growth.
Read More
Research Profile...  Dr Victoria Brown
Congratulations: Recipient of the CAPHIA 2018 Award for PhD Excellence in Public Health
Tell us about yourself: I am a post-doctoral Research Fellow at Deakin Health Economics, now settled in Melbourne but previously of (in-order!) Canberra, Toowoomba, Townsville, Sydney, Brisbane and Warrnambool.  On moving to Melbourne seven years ago, I was lucky enough to be in contact with Prof Marj Moodie and the team at Deakin Health Economics, and began my PhD there soon thereafter.  My PhD explored the cost-effectiveness of policy-level interventions for obesity prevention as part of the Centre for Research Excellence in Obesity Policy and Food Systems.  I have two kids (Amelie is 11 and Finn is 9), and a special interest in the economics of obesity prevention in childhood and adolescence.
Tell us about your EPOCH project: I am in the health economics stream of the CRE, where we are building a model to estimate the cost-effectiveness of obesity prevention interventions in early childhood.  We will then use the model to undertake the economic evaluation of a series of early childhood obesity prevention interventions – to provide information on which interventions are good value-for-money.  I am also very interested in the economics of scaling-up public health interventions, and the EPOCH CRE has provided me with many valuable research connections to explore this idea (work-in-progress!) further.
Why are you passionate about your work? I am naturally inquisitive and enjoy learning new things, and so a job where we are paid to explore new ideas is perfect.  Not always easy, but always interesting!  And as a mum to two, I am passionate about improving the health of children and setting them up for the best possible start in life.
One thing we probably don’t know about you:  I also have a new addition to the family……. Rapha the Boston Terrier was a Christmas present “for the kids”

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 © 2017 - CRE - EPOCH All rights reserved.

Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood
Prevention Research Collaboration
Level 6, Charles Perkins Centre (D17)
University of Sydney  NSW  2006

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Centre for Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood · CRE -EPOCH, PRC, Charles Perkins Centre · Level 6, D17, Charles Perkins Centre · The University of Sydney, Nsw 2006 · Australia

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