Dr Debra Hector

Senior Research Fellow
Public Health, School of Public Health

K25 - Medical Foundation Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: +61 2 9036 3197
F: +61 2 9036 3148
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W: Related website

Biographical details

Debra gained her PhD in 1987 and worked in the UK, Papua New Guinea and Australia in applied biological and agricultural research, and as a lecturer, for over 15 years. Debra joined the NSW Centre for Public Health Nutrition in 2000 while completing her MPH and since 2010 has worked for the Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Research Group (PANORG) which is part of the Prevention Research Collaboration at Sydney University.

Research interests

Debra has particular expertise in the synthesis and summary of research evidence to support policy and planning in the area of public health nutrition, especially in relation to breastfeeding and obesity.

Debra's work substantially informed development of the evidence-based NSW Health Breastfeeding Policy in 2006 and the recent update in 2011. Debra has contributed to national developments in breastfeeding monitoring and policy.

Debra has also contributed to a large number of literature reviews on the effectiveness of nutrition-related interventions in the area of obesity-prevention. For example, she has produced review syntheses on the following topics: "Addressing overweight and obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples"; "Soft drinks, weight status and health"; as well as a number of topics (consumption of breakfast, fruit and vegetables, soft drinks, energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods) in the "Building solutions for preventing childhood obesity" series. Most recently Debra co-authored an evidence summary on "Front of pack" labelling.

Debra has ongoing interests in the areas of evidence-based policy and planning in public health nutrition and physical activity & health; monitoring of breastfeeding; evaluation tools and methods; and the food environment.