Making a direct impact on the community through research into lifestyle changes made in the early years and their effect on obesity-related diseases.
One in five children and adolescents in Australia are either overweight or obese, and globally in 2014, 41 million children under the age of five were overweight or obese. Our project team is collaborating with the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood to tackle this global epidemic.
Effectiveness of interventions
We are developing new tools to monitor obesity-related behaviours in the first five years of life, to understand changes in obesity risk.
To determine whether interventions are effective, we plan to analyse data from intervention trials conducted nationally and internationally and identify factors that promote successful implementation of obesity programs.
The economics of interventions
Furthermore, very few obesity interventions in early childhood have been subjected to economic evaluation. Since information on cost-effectiveness, equity, affordability, implementation feasibility, acceptability, sustainability and scalability are all vital to decisions about program implementation, we will assess the economic implications of different early childhood interventions.
We are evaluating obesity interventions in early childhood to ascertain whether there are effective programs to reduce obesity in the first five years of life, and onwards through generations to follow.
Through this project collaboration we aim to reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related behaviours in the first five years of life, impacting both current young people and their subsequent generations.
The research impact will also extend to national policy, scaling up programs and translating research into practice requires an understanding of the policy context, available policy levers, and how to engage practitioners and consumers in this process.
Evidence of effectiveness
Large scale implementation
Two founding studies within our collaboration have received separate NHMRC Partnership Grants to evaluate the large scale implementation of two effective early childhood obesity prevention interventions. These are now well underway.
Evaluation of health care costs
A/Prof Alison Hayes published the first economic evaluation of an early childhood obesity prevention program and was then the first to use big data to show that children with obesity have higher healthcare costs in the first 5 years of life