NEWS

More news can be found by reading our newsletters (see left panel).

Index

Find links to the latest reports.

Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Research Engagement and Innovation

The NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey - SPANS Report 2015

Physical activity for public health: In pursuit of rigorous evaluation in the real world
Did you miss the seminar? Watch the video!

The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition
A seminar on the American "Let's Move" program.

Policy Healthier Workplaces Project Research Node launch
A new research and industry collaboration.

Social Impact Investing
A forum with Louise Sylvan and others.

Policy responses to obesity prevention in Australia - local to national progress
A symposium co-hosted with Deakin University

New Strategies and Tools for Social Marketing Research & Practice
Watch the video of keynote speaker Dr R Craig Lefebvre.

PRC members and CPC colleagues awarded grant
This grant will be used to develop an online course in chronic disease prevention.

Dr Becky Freeman awarded NHMRC Early Career Fellowship
Dr Freeman's project focuses on translational research.

2014 news included a new WHO-CC PANO website, PRC move to the Charles Perkins Centre, research findings, and more

2013 and earlier included research findings, awards, and more

Current News

Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Research Engagement and Innovation

Award recipient - The Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney Medical School
These members collectively represent the Prevention Research Collaboration, a 20-25 member research group:

  • Sesquicentenary Professor Adrian Bauman
  • Professor William Bellew
  • Associate Professor Philayrath Phongsavan
  • Dr Louise Hardy
  • Dr Becky Freeman

This research group has demonstrated outstanding engagement and innovation through their impact on public health prevention policy and practice locally, nationally and internationally. Their interdisciplinary approach covers five key areas of research: physical activity, sedentary behaviour, tobacco, nutrition, and obesity prevention. Their research underpins partnerships cultivated with policymakers, practitioners and non government organisations over the last 15 years.

Through collaborative partnerships with world-renowned researchers, the group has been able to solve complex and challenging public health problems and steer public policy to implement interventions to prevent and control chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer globally.

PRC Team being awarded

The NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey - SPANS Report

The NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS) is a representative cross-sectional, school-based health behaviour surveillance survey of school children age 5 to 16 year. The survey is conducted by the Prevention Research Collaboration and lead by Dr Louise Hardy.

This is the fifth SPANS of NSW school students and provides valuable prevalence and trend information on the weight status and health behaviours of a representative sample of 7,556 school students in Kindergarten and Years 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10, conducted in Term 1, 2015. In 2015, new indicators of children’s health were included: oral health, sleep, and muscular fitness.

Physical activity for public health: In pursuit of rigorous evaluation in the real world

Co-hosted by the PRC, the CPC, the Sax Institute and TAPPC, this seminar explored the need for and challenges of rigorous evaluation of real world situations. Dr David Ogilvie, from Cambridge University, was the keynote speaker; Prof Don Nutbeam (PRC and the Sax Institute), Elizabeth Flynn (Assistant Secretary, Preventive Health Policy, Australian Government Department of Health) and Prof William Trochim (Cornell University) joined as panellists.

Read more in the April 2016 PRC newsletter or watch the video.

The President's Council on Fitness, Sport and Nutrition

On 11th March 2016 Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of the US President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition delivered a keynote address to invited seminar participants. The event was hosted by the Charles Perkins Centre and was jointly auspiced by the NSW Premier’s Council for Active Living (PCAL) and National Heart Foundation (NSW Division), and coordinated by the PRC/Boden Institute. The event was opened by CPC Academic Director, Professor Stephen Simpson, followed by remarks from Professors Ian Caterson (Boden) and Adrian Bauman (PRC).

Read more in the April 2016 PRC newsletter.

Healthier Workplaces Project Research Node launch

In November, researchers from PRC launched the Healthier Workplaces Project Research Node, a multidisciplinary research group studying workplace health in relation to physical activity and sedentary behavior. The Node is chaired by Drs Jo Chau and Lina Engelen; members represent seven faculties of the University of Sydney, as well as faculties from Victoria University, Curtin University, the University of Queensland and professionals in other organisations.

For more information, read the December 2015 PRC newsletter.

Social Impact Investing

The PRC hosted a forum at the Charles Perkins Centre on 4 November 2015, examining what social impact investing is, whether this type of investment has implications for health, and in particular for funding of disease prevention/health promotion activity.

For more information, read the December 2015 PRC newsletter.

Policy responses to obesity prevention in Australia - local to national progress

Co-Ops Collaboration PRC

On May 21st PRC co-hosted a one-day symposium at Deakin University in Melbourne with The Collaboration of Community-based Obesity Prevention Sites (CO-OPS Collaboration). The symposium was designed to provide an opportunity for Australian practitioners, policy advisors and researchers to:

  • reflect on the role of government and non-government sectors in obesity prevention in Australia
  • consider progress in obesity prevention by:
    -recapping the evidence base for effective interventions to promote (i) physical activity (ii) healthy eating (food policy environments)
    -reviewing data and approach to measurement in physical activity, healthy eating and healthy weight
    -exploring a current selection of national and local policy responses
  • identify take-home messages and next steps in advocacy and action for practitioners, policy advisors and researchers to strengthen obesity prevention in Australia
  • build and strengthen networks and collaboration to enhance obesity prevention practice, policy and research
prc

Presenters included (from left) PRC members Debra Hector and Bill Bellew, and Megan Cobcroft, Andrew Milat and Michelle Maxwell.

Video-recordings of the symposium speakers and PowerPoint slides are available by clicking on the presenter's name: Melinda Bald, Bill Bellew, Melanie Chisholm, Megan Cobcroft, Elizabeth Flynn, Rohan Greenland, Debra Hector, Angela Hunt, Michelle Maxwell, Andrew Milat, Mel Nichols, Andrew Pengilley, Gary Sacks, Boyd Swinburn and Len Yeats.

New Strategies and Tools for Social Marketing Research & Practice

PRC co-hosted this colloquium on the State of the Art of Social Marketing and Mass Media for NCD Prevention with the Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney.

One of the keynote presentations, by Dr R Craig Lefebvre, can be seen in the video.

28:49 minutes Download video (mp4, 1148.23 Mb)

The PRC awarded University of Sydney grant for online course development

PRC members Professors Adrian Bauman, Bill Bellew, and Tim Gill and Dr Lina Engelen, along with colleagues from the CPC, were awarded a University of Sydney grant to develop an online course. The course in chronic disease prevention will cover all areas of non-communicable diseases. Building upon their two years of successful experience with a smaller online course in physical activity and exercise in noncommunicable disease prevention, the team hopes to have the course available by late 2015.

Dr Becky Freeman awarded NHMRC Early Career Fellowship

Dr Becky Freeman aims to strengthen the evidence-based application of new media for chronic disease prevention. Her project will analyse how new media can both enhance and threaten prevention programs and policies. The research focuses on three primary topics: 1) Online electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) promotions, 2) Online social network influences on food choices and physical activity levels and 3) New media platforms and tools to communicate and translate prevention research. Ultimately, the outcomes of the research will guide effective policy and program responses to reduce the incidence of chronic disease caused by tobacco use and poor diets.

2014

New Website for WHO Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity Nutrition and Obesity (WHO CCPANO)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity was established in 2013 under the auspices of WHO's Head Office in Geneva to influence policy and public health work on chronic disease prevention globally. For more details please click here WHO CCPANO.

Move to CPC

CPC Building

In July 2014, PRC were excited to relocate to the splendid Charles Perkins Centre informally known as The Hub. This $385 million purpose-built facility will bring together scholars from a range of disciplines to explore the interconnectedness of our environment, our food and our health. Please see our brief snapshot of Charles Perkins and the Charles Perkins Centre by clicking on the picture of the CPC building.

Welcome to Justin Richards

The Prevention Research Collaboration (PRC) in the School of Public Health is delighted to welcome Dr Justin Richards, NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow (overseas).

Justin comes to the PRC from the NSW Ministry of Health where he worked as a Public Health Trainee in the Office of the Chief Health Officer and the Centre for Epidemiology & Evidence. Prior to this he completed a Doctorate and was employed as a researcher at the University of Oxford, UK. His research focuses on physical activity interventions and mental health outcomes in vulnerable youth and he has a particular interest in capacity building approaches in low-income countries. Justin has also previously interned at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva and is looking forward to contributing to the international agenda of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity recently established at the University of Sydney.

Welcome to visiting Fellow - Associate Professor Qiqiang He

Dr He

The Prevention Research Collaboration welcomes Visiting Fellow, Associate Professor Qiqiang He, from Wuhan University School of Public of Public where he is also Assistant Dean. A recipient of the Australian Endeavour Research Fellowship Dr He will spend the next 4-6 months building up research and teaching links in chronic disease prevention. Dr He research areas include environmental epidemiology, nutrition, obesity and mental health

Driving ourselves to ill health?

As little as two hours a day behind the wheel is a potential risk factor for a range of poor health behaviours and outcomes, a new study from the Prevention Research Collaboration has shown. Published in PLOS One journal, the study of nearly 40,000 Australians aged 47-75 years found that people who drive for two hours or more per day are more likely to smoke, to be obese, and to be less physically active.
As little as two hours a day behind the wheel is a potential risk factor for a range of poor health behaviours and outcomes, a new study from the Prevention Research Collaboration has shown. Published in PLOS One journal, the study of nearly 40,000 Australians aged 47-75 years found that people who drive for two hours or more per day are more likely to smoke, to be obese, and to be less physically active.
Lead author Dr Ding Ding, said that "The research also reveals that people who drive for two hours or more daily are more likely to be stressed, sleep-deprived, have poorer self-rated health and quality of life.
"We found a dose-response relationship between driving time and a clustering of health risk behaviours, particularly smoking, physical inactivity, and insufficient sleep. The more time people spent driving, the greater their odds of having poor health and risk factors for poor health".
People who drive more than two hours a day had 78% elevated risk of being obese, and 57% elevated risk of insufficient physical activity.
"The study's findings are relevant to middle aged and older people who drive on a daily basis, for any reason, not just professional drivers," Dr Ding said.
Elevated risks linked to driving two hours or more a day:
78% Obesity
57% Insufficient physical activity (less than 150 minutes per week)
86% Insufficient sleep (less than 7 hours a day)
43% Poor quality of life
33% Psychological distress
The observed link between driving time and health risks were independent of socioeconomic factors such as age, gender and education levels.
This cross-sectional study is amongst the first to examine the associations of driving time with a range of health behaviors and outcomes.
"Findings from the current study are consistent with some previous research that linked driving to cardio-metabolic health," says Dr Ding.
"However, further research is needed to confirm causality and to understand the mechanisms for the observed associations.
"This study highlights driving as a potential lifestyle risk factor for public health, and future lifestyle interventions and transportation planning initiatives may consider reducing driving time as a strategy for promoting health and well-being in the community".

New Study on weight of Australian Children

Nearly one in four New South Wales school children are overweight or obese according to a University of Sydney study reported in today's Medical Journal of Australia. The new finding is the latest from a series of three state-wide school surveys (1997, 2004 and 2010), providing a rolling snapshot of children's weight, physical activity and dietary behaviours. Beginning in 1997 when school survey data showed that one in five children were overweight or obese (20 per cent), prevalence peaked at 24 per cent in 2004 before dropping slightly to 23 per cent in 2010, according to the latest survey data. The study also reveals new information about diet, lifestyle and obesity among Aboriginal children. Conditions such as obesity, heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes are more prevalent among Australian Aboriginal people but until now there's been limited data about diet, lifestyle or obesity among school-aged Aboriginal children.

The NSW Schools Physical Activity Nutrition Survey conducted in 2010 of more than 8,000 children reveals that nearly one in three aboriginal children are overweight or obese (29 per cent), compared to nearly one in four (23 per cent) among non-Aboriginal children. "Childhood is a period when education about healthy eating and physical activity is vital for establishing healthy practices in later years," says study co-author and University of Sydney public health expert, Dr Blythe O'Hara. "This is because childhood obesity predicts obesity in later life and raises people's risk for health problems such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes." Other key findings from the 2010 survey include:

  • Approximately 35 to 50 per cent of non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal children ate dinner in front of the television
  • Approximately 50 to 60 per cent of non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal children were rewarded for good behavior with sugary foods
  • Non-Aboriginal children were more likely to have breakfast every day (79 per cent compared to 70 per cent in Aboriginal children)
  • Non-Aboriginal children were less likely to exceed the daily recommended screen time (no more than 2 hours daily)
  • Overall, there was no significant difference in physical activity levels between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal children
  • Physical activity levels were higher among older children (grades 6-10) than younger children (grades K-4).

Temporal trends in weight and current weight-related behaviour of Australian Aboriginal school-aged children. Louise L Hardy, Blythe J O’Hara, Debra Hector, Lina Engelen and Sandra J Eades Med J Aust 2014; 200 (11): 667-671. doi: 10.5694/mja13.10614