The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders

2015 Boden Institute Events and Courses Archive

Diabetes mellitus / obesity: current situation in Hong Kong - a model reflecting South East Asia

Tuesday 19 May 2015 1:00–2:00 pm

Presenter: Dr Athena Ka-Yuen Lock is an endocrinologist from the Tseung Kwan O Hospital in Hong Kong.

Summary of talk
Once considered a disease of the West, type 2 diabetes is now a global health hazard. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), approximately 285 million people suffer from diabetes in 2010, and this figure is expected to increase to 439 million by 2030. Of note, diabetes is spreading more rapidly in Asia than anywhere else in the world and more than 60% of the world's population with diabetes is of Asian origin. In view of its high prevalence, it is important to know how T2DM differs in Asians when compared to Caucasians (the so-called Asian phenotypes).

In this presentation, Athena will discuss these issues in terms of epidemiology, risk factors and complications.
Despite their smaller body build, Asians tend to accumulate more body fat and develop cardiovascular risk factors at a lower body weight/ smaller waist circumference than Caucasians. In light of such ethnic differences, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and IDF have adopted a different definition of overweight and obesity for Asians. Moreover, the selection criteria for bariatric/ metabolic surgery are also different.

About the presenter
Athena is an endocrinologist from Hong Kong. She practices full-time in the Department of Medicine at the Tseung Kwan O Hospital. Athena actively participates in a number of local academic organizations including Diabetes Hong Kong, Hong Kong Society of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Reproduction. Her special interest lies in studying the interaction between T2DM and obesity.

Micronutrients in Pregnancy in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Professor Ian Darnton-Hill AO

Tuesday 5 May 2015 1:00–2:00 pm

Presenter: Professor Ian Darnton-Hill AO from the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders, The University of Sydney and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, USA.

Summary of talk
Micronutrient malnutrition – deficiencies of vitamins and minerals - affects the majority of pregnant women in many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC): globally, approximately 32 million pregnant women are anaemic, 19 million suffer from vitamin A deficiency, and millions suffer from insufficient iron, folate, zinc or iodine stores. WHO estimates that over 20 million babies are born low birth weight (<2500 g at birth), about 15 million are premature, and many more are born small for their gestational age, increasing their risk of morbidity and mortality during childhood.

This brief overview aims to identify the micronutrients likely to be deficient in women of reproductive age in LMIC, especially during pregnancy. Iron, iodine, folate and calcium are known for their roles in development of the foetus/neonate. Less clear effects of deficiencies of zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium have been reported, as well as vitamins B12, D and A, with the water-soluble vitamins generally less likely to be a problem. Epigenetic influences and the likely influence of micronutrient deficiencies on foetal origins of adult chronic diseases are currently being explored. With the increased needs of various vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, WHO has suggested that a multiple micronutrient supplement may be needed. In the meantime, increasing numbers of countries are fortifying cereals with iron, folic acid and often other micronutrients. Increased food and nutrition security, better coverage of antenatal care and availability of good obstetric care all need to be concomitant interventions.

About the presenter
Trained as a public health physician, Ian has had over 40 years of practical and academic experience with Helen Keller International, UNICEF, USAID and WHO. Areas of expertise span public health interventions, health policy, and analysis of national programmes, with an emphasis on public health nutrition, especially micronutrient programmes. He retired from the UN as Special Adviser to the UNICEF Executive Director on Child Hunger and Undernutrition in 2009. He had also been the WHO Nutrition Adviser for the Western Pacific Region and later Senior Global Health Leadership Fellow with WHO HQ. He is currently a Consultant and Adjunct Professor at the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders at the University of Sydney, Australia, and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, Tufts University, USA

Evidence-based VLCD and LCD therapy for diabetes: cost effective, safe and predictable weight loss and maintenance, with sustained health benefit

Image of low calorie diet sachets

Tuesday 28 April 2015 1:00–2:00 pm

Presenter: Dr Anthony Leeds is visiting senior fellow in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey and visiting professor in the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen.

Summary of Talk
Dietary energy restriction improves metabolic control in people with diabetes. This idea is recorded in documents from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. With rising prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, on a global scale, more therapeutic options are needed. Formula diet weight loss and maintenance programs may contribute increasingly for the following reasons:
(a) Formula VLCD and low-calorie diets (LCD, 800-1200kcal/d) enable the compliant patient to lose 1–2kg/week safely with metabolic improvement in glucose, insulin, blood lipids and blood pressure (Snel et al).
(b) Formula VLCD and LCD can be followed by effective maintenance interventions to achieve weight maintenance for up to 4 years (Christensen et al).
(c) Weight loss with formula VLCD can improve 5 out of 6 people with obstructive sleep apnoea (a common co-morbidity in obese people with diabetes) and ‘cure’ 1 in 10 people – an effect largely maintained for one year (Johansson et al).
(d) Formula VLCD and LCD can ‘switch-off’ or down-regulate obesity-associated inflammatory processes as demonstrated in elderly obese people with knee osteoarthritis (Ballegaard et al) and in those with psoriasis (Jensen et al; Geiker et al).

Major clinical trials in early type 2 diabetes; pre-diabetes (one arm of the PREVIEW study is currently taking place in Sydney, see: and in insulin-treated diabetes are now underway.


About the Presenter
Anthony Leeds is visiting senior fellow in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey and visiting professor in the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen. He practices part-time in the NHS at the Central Middlesex Hospital in Diabetes and Endocrinology and at The Whittington Hospital within the North London Obesity Surgery Service. His current research interests concern the use of low energy diets and very low energy diets in weight management in clinical practice; he works with colleagues at the Parker Institute, Frederiksberg hospital, Copenhagen, where he is an honorary senior research fellow.

In 2010 and 2011 he contributed to the BBC web-site ‘scrubbing up’ series discussing obesity, sleep apnoea and road traffic accidents; the costs of obesity treatment with surgery and the need for training of doctors in obesity management. He was Senior Lecturer at King's College London until September 2007 and is now Medical Director of the Cambridge Weight Plan.

Recent publications

Calorie consciousness, social habits, and beverage taxes

Nathalie Mathieu-Bolh

Thursday 16 April 2015 12:00–1:00 pm

Presenter: Associate Professor Nathalie Mathieu-Bolh from the University of Vermont (USA)

Summary of the talk
The consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages is linked to obesity in children and adults. Not only is it a concern for public health professionals, but it is also a concern for economists who care about the social cost of obesity. What is the potential of taxes to reduce Sugar Sweetened Beverage consumption and body weight? To answer this question, Associate Professor Nathalie Mathieu-Bolh will firstly review the empirical and theoretical economic literature on this topic. Secondly, Nathalie will propose a new theoretical model for Sugar Sweetened Beverage consumption. The model captures the interactions between habits and calorie consciousness, which are important to understand Sugar Sweetened Beverage consumption and assess the effects of beverage taxes on consumption and body weight.

About the presenter
Nathalie Mathieu-Bolh is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Vermont (USA). Her expertise is in Public Finance and Macroeconomic Theory, with a concentration on optimal taxation and tax reforms. Her publications essentially relate to the welfare and distributional effects of capital income taxes, labour income taxes, and consumption taxes among income groups and generations. Nathalie's research has also consisted in modelling the interactions between health and the environment to better understand the effects of environmental tax reforms. Her most recent research focuses on the effects of food, ingredients, and beverage taxes on body weight.

What impact does obesity stigma have on the management of obesity?

Professor Andrew Hill

Tuesday 17 March 2015 1:00–2:00 pm

Presenter: Professor Andrew Hill is Head of the Academic Unit of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences and Director of Student Progression at Leeds University School of Medicine.

Summary of the talk
The rise in interest in anti-fat bias parallels the recognition of obesity as a public health problem and a general failure to bring about change. Calls to ‘wage war’ on obesity and using stigma to change obesity-relevant behaviour have been challenged on human rights and social justice grounds. This presentation will address a series of questions. Namely, what is anti-fat bias? Who holds anti-fat attitudes and at what age do these attitudes become apparent? What is the resultant experience of those who are obese? What are the consequences of anti-fat bias? And what should our professional response be?

The main components of anti-fat bias are dislike (the aesthetics of appearance), judgements of health (weight as a metric of health; weight change indicative of health improvement/decline), and morality (blame, lack of willpower). The overarching emotion is fear, as the stereotyping of fat is a mainly negative portrayal of character, social exclusion, and poor health. Such views are widely held, implicitly by most, and explicitly by the majority of general public, health professionals and people who are obese. Anticipated and actual discrimination and victimization experiences are evidenced in questionnaires, diary records and qualitative interviews with children and adults who are obese. The associated disparity and disadvantage is evidenced in all areas of life; education, the workplace, health care, socially, and in increased psychological distress. Behavioural justice sits within a broader social justice view of equality and valuing diversity. Specifically, it points to inequalities in access to health-promoting resources. I will argue that the obesogenic environment requires attitudinal as well as physical adjustment.

About the presenter
Andrew Hill is Professor of Medical Psychology, Head of the Academic Unit of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences, and Director of Student Progression at Leeds University School of Medicine. Andrew is also Visiting Professor at Sydney Medical School for 3 years from 2015. He was Chairman of the UK Association for the Study of Obesity from 1999-2002 and is currently a member of the UK Department of Health’s Obesity Review Group. Over the last 25 years or so his research interests have ranged from human appetite control to the development of weight and shape concerns in children, and the variety of psychological issues inherent in obesity and eating disorders.

Exploring the interrelationships between diet, the gut system and metabolic health

Thursday 5 March 2015 12:00–1:00 pm

Presenter: Dr Yan Yan Lam from the Boden Institute and the Charles Perkins Centre

Summary of the talk
There is a growing body of literature that suggests that the gut, in particular its microbes, is integral to metabolic health. While many diseases have been associated with a state of dysbiosis, the drivers of the alternations in microbiota and the extent to which these changes are causes, or consequences of metabolic sequelae is unclear. Dr Yan Yan Lam and her colleagues hypothesised that dietary factors could modify gut health, primarily via changes in the gut microbes, and subsequently impact on systemic functions. In this seminar, she will describe a series of rodent studies that she conducted at the Boden Institute as part of an NHMRC-funded project that investigated the role of the gut in metabolic dysfunctions in the context of diet-induced obesity. Yan will also provide a summary of her work during her two-year training at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the United States that primarily focused on using whole-room respiratory chambers to investigate the effect of diet on energy expenditure in humans. Finally, Yan will briefly describe the work that she will undertake in her new position at the Boden Institute, that involves a Diabetes Australia-funded project looking at gut permeability, diet and glucose homeostasis in humans, and potential new collaborations to investigate the mechanisms by which dietary factors impact on metabolic wellbeing.

About the presenter
Dr Yan Yan Lam is a Postdoctoral Research Associate within the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders. Having a background in clinical dietetics, Yan pursued her interest in mechanisms by which diet impacts on health by specialising in basic science research using cell culture and animal models. Upon completion of her first postdoctoral training with Professor Len Storlien at the Boden Institute, Yan was invited to further her training under the mentorship of Professor Eric Ravussin, a world expert in the conduct of translational research in obesity and diabetes, at the prestigious Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the United States. During this time she acquired highly specialised skills in measuring gut parameters and metabolic phenotyping in humans. Yan has recently joined the Charles Perkins Centre and is aiming to establish her niche of expertise and develop her standing as a translational researcher in the area of gut-metabolic health interactions.

2014 Events and Courses Archive

Exercise strategies for body fat partitioning: Moving beyond weight loss

Thursday 20 November 2014 12:00–1:00 pm

Presenter: Ms Shelley Keating from the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Boden Institute

It is increasingly recognised that the location of excess adiposity is of greater importance than the total amount of excess fat in determining the adverse health effects of overweight and obesity, with increased deposition of abdominal fat, visceral adipose tissue, and intrahepatic lipid being particularly linked to adverse health consequences. Recent evidence suggests that exercise can reduce these ectopic fat deposits without clinically significant weight loss, however it is unclear which prescriptions are effective.

Shelley Keating is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist completing her PhD in exercise strategies targeting body fat reduction, independent of weight loss, with the Health Science faculty of the University of Sydney, in affiliation with the Boden Institute and the new Charles Perkins Centre. At this Boden Instutute seminar, she will present her research findings in exercise for obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and also explore the efficacy of novel High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as a time-efficient exercise strategy to increase fitness and lose body fat. Shelley’s research into HIIT has recently been widely circulated in national and international print media. Her seminar will also present methods for controlling potentially confounding variables in exercise-based randomized controlled trials.

How safe and effective are severe and intermittent fasting diets? Are they a passing and dangerous fad, or a valid solution for a growing proportion of us?

Thursday 6 November 12:00–1:00 pm

Presenter: Associate Professor Amanda Salis from the Boden Institute

With a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Western Australia and a PhD from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Associate Professor Amanda Salis is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders. Her research into hypothalamic control of appetite, body weight and body composition aims to help more people to attain and maintain optimum body composition and metabolic health throughout life.

Amanda's translational research spans studies with transgenic mice to randomized controlled trials in humans. Her current research is funded by NHMRC project grants totalling over $2.4 million.

Obesity, sexuality and intimate relationships

Wednesday 5 November 12:00–1:00 pm

Presenter: Professor Berit Heitmann from the Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Denmark

Summary of presentation
Obesity is affecting major fractions of Western populations; it has increased dramatically over past decades and affects children, adolescents and adults. Obesity has several serious health consequences including those related to sexual health. Obesity also influences sexual maturation, mating, and reproduction, and may thus have profound consequences for sexuality, intimacy and psychosocial functioning. Among the young obesity leads to earlier menarche, as well as early development of breasts and pubic hair; among the adolescents body size influences dating and sexual experiences, and among obese adults assortative mating may be a consequence of, as well as the determinant of increased occurrence of obesity.

The lecture covered obesity and its consequence for sexuality, intimate relationships, and psychosocial functioning from puberty to old age.

About the speaker
Professor Heitmann is Research Leader at the Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Centre for Health and Society in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her major research interests include indentifying the determinants and consequences of obesity, with particular focus on the dietary determinants of obesity.

Whither preventive health – the legacy of ANPHA (The Australian National Preventive Health Agency)

Wednesday 20 August 11:00–12:30 pm

The Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) was a statutory authority established in 2011. ANPHA’s mission was to “be the catalyst for strategic partnerships, including the provision of technical advice and assistance to all levels of government and in all sectors, to promote health and reduce health risk and inequalities, and to initiate actions to promote health across the entire Australian community”.

The Agency’s key program areas included:
- Overweight and obesity prevention
- Tobacco control
- Harmful alcohol use
- Prevention in Medicare Locals
- National Preventive Health Awards
- Smoking & Disadvantage Network

In June this year the essential functions of ANPHA were transferred to the Department of Health. This seminar discusses the legacy of ANPHA in preventive health – its achievements during 2011–2014 and the challenges for preventive health since the Agency was closed.

Prof. Ian Caterson, Director, The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders and Acting Director, Charles Perkins Centre Clinical Research Facility
Prof. Steve Simpson, Academic Director, Charles Perkins Centre
Prof. Adrian Bauman, Director, Prevention Research Collaboration
Prof. Stephen Leeder, Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine
Dr. Kerry Chant, Chief Health Officer and Deputy Secretary of Population and Public Health, will speak on health prevention
Ms. Louise Sylvan, CEO of ANPHA, will speak on “Reflections on ANPHA – highlights of national prevention leadership”

Birth weight and cardiovascular risk – a role for omega 3 PUFA in prevention?

Thursday 14 August 12:00–1:00 pm

Presenter: Dr Michael Skilton from the Boden Institute

Summary of talk
Birth weight is inversely associated with risk of adult cardiovascular disease, with a 10–20% lower risk per 1 kg higher birth weight. This heightened risk of cardiovascular diseases is of most relevance to people with the lowest birth weights. In particular, people born small for gestational age (birth weight below the 10th percentile for sex and gestational age) are a high risk group. Birth weight is inversely associated with systolic blood pressure, being 2 mm Hg higher per 1 kg lower birth weight, and may mechanistically link reduced birth weight with later cardiovascular disease.

There is currently no prevention strategy identified to lower blood pressure or reduce cardiovascular risk in people born small for gestational age. This lack of “reliable evidence from randomized trials about how to intervene” in people identified as being at risk of adult non-communicable diseases due to their early development, has recently been identified by the Lancet as a key priority area.
This seminar will outline the evidence linking small for gestational age with cardiovascular risk and early atherosclerosis, and our findings from four independent populations of children and adults that support the hypothesis that omega-3 fatty acid intake improves cardiovascular risk profile in people who were born small for gestational age.

About the presenter
Dr Michael Skilton is a vascular physiologist. His research focuses on non-invasive assessment of vascular health and disease, with a particular focus on the developmental origins of cardiovascular disease, obesity, nutrition, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. He has published in a number of high impact journals, including The Lancet, Pediatrics, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

A consistent approach to analysing nutrition data from the Australian Health Survey

Thursday 24 July 9:00–4:30 pm

Steve Simpson, Lynne Cobiac, Tim Gill, Louise Gates, Paul Atyeo, Susan Shaw, Renee Sobolewski, Manny Noakes, Anna Rangan, Malcolm Riley, Dorothy Mackerras, Vicki Flood

Summary of talk
This full day workshop was organised by Associate Professor Tim Gill from the Boden Institute in conjunction with the Charles Perkins Centre, ABS, CSIRO and FSANZ. The workshop facilitated discussion around the handling and analysis of the nutrition data from the Australian Health Survey as well as some of the problems that have complicated analyses of large dietary intake datasets in the past.

Attendees travelled from all over the country and represented academia, government as well as food industry. The workshop succeeded in raising awareness around specific issues that arise in analysis of dietary intake data from sources such as the Australian Health Survey and created a clear consensus that we must find a mechanism that allow researchers working with this data to move forward to address these issues in a consistent manner.

It was suggested that a reference group be formed that could foster appropriate methodological research on use of dietary intake data, help formulate guidance around how to use and represent results from analyses of this data, generate training events or opportunities and keep a registry of current research projects which utilise the Australian Health Survey Australian Data. The Charles Perkins Centre and CSIRO agreed to help foster such a group and another workshop was planned in conjunction with the Nutrition Society conference in Hobart in November 2014.

AHS Nutrition Data Workshop Program
Tim Gill intro
ABS presentations
FSANZ presentation
Tim Gill other issues with dietary data
Anna Rangan case study
Malcolm Riley presentation

Ultra-processed foods: A new concept in nutrition guidance

Thursday 3 July 12:00–1:00 pm

Presenter: Associate Professor Timothy Gill from the Boden Institute

Summary of talk
There is growing frustration in public health nutrition around the inconsistencies and mixed messages often created by nutrition classification systems and guidance which is based on nutrient content. Poor quality foods can be misrepresented as healthy by manipulating the serving size or by the addition of ingredients such as starches, water or even single nutrients to enable its composition to meet nutrient cutpoints defined within classification systems. At the same time consumers are demanding simple advice and a simplification of the food supply at a time when both the composition and nature of the food supply is becoming more complex and nutrition advice more conditional.

Recently a group of nutritionists in Brazil have proposed a nutrition classification system which grades foods solely on the level of processing. Foods with limited processing are deemed nutritionally superior to those regarded as ultra-processed - where the food is constructed from numerous ingredients to form a product which is durable, accessible, convenient, attractive, ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat. These nutritionists contend that simply advising people to construct a diet which includes more foods with limited or no processing and less ultra-processed foods results in better outcomes than the multiple existing nutrition guidance systems. Other nutritionists have condemned this approach as over-simplistic and the food industry vigorously opposes it. This talk will explore the concept of ultra-processed foods and whether it negates the need to base guidance on the fat, sugar, salt, fibre or GI content of foods.

About the presenter
Associate Professor Gill is currently Principal Research Fellow and Scientific Programs Manager within the Boden Institute. He has wide experience as an academic and within government departments and health agencies. His research interests are in the application for public health nutrition to the promotion of good health and prevention of chronic disease. His major focus is on the improved prevention and management and the epidemiology of obesity both within Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Tim has authored several key reports on obesity for State and Federal Government departments as well as national and international agencies and has served on a number of World Health Organization expert committees on obesity and chronic disease. He has also produced many original papers and book chapters on obesity, nutrition and public health.

Innovative eating disorders research from the Centre for Eating and Dieting Disorders

Thursday 12 June 12:00–1:00 pm

Presenters: Prof. Janice Russell and Dr. Sarah Maguire from the Eating and Dieting Disorders group at the Boden Institute

Summary of talk
The Eating and Dieting Disorders group is pleased to present original research currently been undertaking by two of Australia’s leading Eating Disorder Specialists.

Professor Russell is a Clinical Professor in Psychological Medicine at the University and the Director of the Eating Disorder Programs at Northside Clinic, Greenwich and Missenden Psychiatric Unit, Royal prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown. She will discuss her ground-breaking clinical randomised control trial investigating the benefits of a novel hormone ‘Oxytocin’ in the treatment of Anorexia Nervosa.

Dr Sarah Maguire is a Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lecturer at the Boden Institute. She has specialised in the eating disorders field over the past 15 years and has been the Director of CEDD since 2005. Dr Maguire will present long-term research exploring a world first approach for the staging of Anorexia Nervosa much like cancer. She will present an instrument designed to assess the severity and stage of Anorexia Nervosa and current clinical data for supporting the staging model.

Giving a Tick to Junk Food in Schools

Thursday 29 May 1:00–2:00 pm

Presenter: Dr Kieron Rooney from the from the Faculty of Health Sciences

About the presenter
Dr Kieron Rooney has a PhD specializing in Metabolic Biochemistry, is a Senior lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Biochemistry in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney and is a registered Nutritionist with the Nutrition Society of Australia (R Nutr.). For the past 15 years he has researched the impact of diet and physical activity on the regulation of fuel utilisation and storage. Kieron is not a public health expert, but rather a concerned parent with a bit of knowledge and whole lot of passion.

Summary of talk
There is an urgent need to review and update current guidelines overseeing food supply in school canteens. The National Healthy School Canteens (NHSC) project commenced in 2008 to help provide guidelines for healthier food and drink choices in Australian schools. At their core, the guidelines seek to restrict the availability of poor food choices by encouraging the preferential availability of healthy options.

This summer, however, the NHSC and associated state specific nutrition in schools strategies were exploited by food manufacturers to endorse processed junk food as school lunchbox “approved” under the guise of government regulation. As such, food manufacturers have highlighted yet another flaw in the current government approach to nutrition in schools.

In this lunchtime seminar, Kieron will present examples of the products currently marketed to children and parents as appropriate inclusions in a healthy lunchbox and discuss the greater concern for the healthy development of our next generation Australians – that these products do in fact, meet government approved guidelines.

Developmental origins of health and disease

Thursday 1 May 12:00–1:00 pm

Presenter: Dr Kyra Sim from the Charles Perkins Centre and the Boden Institute

Dr Kyra Sim is the Project & Research Officer of the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre: Preconception, Pregnancy, and Childhood Cohort Study and at the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders. Since graduating from her PhD in 2012, she has been employed part-time by both the International Diabetes Federation and as a research assistant investigating the association of cardiovascular risk factors in pregnant women and the obese.

The Preconception, Pregnancy and Childhood Cohort Study is a flagship project for the Charles Perkins Centre. This study will investigate how preconception and early pregnancy conditions impact on the pathways of disease. This will enable us to gain a greater understanding of the mechanisms occurring before and during pregnancy that contribute to the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and related disorders, throughout life.

What is now clear is that genetic programming occurs in the fetus during pregnancy such that the infant carries a metabolic ‘load’ already by birth that can predispose it to diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Of even more concern is that these epigenetic changes not only persist into adulthood but are transmitted into the next generation.

Adding to this complex situation is an increasing trend to later childbearing coupled with the rising prevalence of parental obesity. Maternal obesity is related to an increased risk of non-communicable disease in the offspring, usually presenting in adolescence and adulthood. Pre-pregnancy and gestational obesity may lead to a self-reinforcing vicious cycle of excessive weight gain and adiposity that is passed on from mother to offspring. Additionally, recent studies have reported adverse outcomes associated with an obese biological father. While the underlying mechanisms of such parental obesity-induced programming remain unclear, the hypothesis has important implications in explaining the rapid rise in obesity.

Most health initiatives have focused on obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease as medical conditions, concentrating on their complex biology at the levels of genes, cells and organs. These are important areas for research, but the causes and consequences of these diseases are much more complicated than biology alone. The Charles Perkins Centre takes a complex systems approach to disease states and the study will provide information about the biological, social, cultural and environmental context of the cohort.

The talk will present the progress of Charles Perkins Centre Cohort Study and discuss importance of the first 1,000 days and how they build the foundation for life.

Misconceptions about exercise and weight loss (seminar)

Image of Shelley Kay

Thursday 3 April 12:00–1:00 pm

The presenter Dr Michelle (Shelley) Kay is from the Diabetes Prevention research team at the Boden Institute

Messages about exercise commonly claim it has “minimal or no effect on obesity or weight loss” and energy restriction is recommended as a more effective option.

Studies using DXA, CT and MRI, frequently report that exercise interventions promote fat loss and the preservation of lean tissue even when there is no weight loss. Further, visceral and intermuscular adipose tissue depots are targeted by exercise even when there is no energy deficit.

The effects of exercise, when limited to changes in body mass or BMI, obscure desirable body composition, anti-inflammatory and pro-metabolic outcomes. This should be considered in health promotion messages and interpretation of research.

Dr Shelley Kay is an exercise physiologist with research, consulting and educational perspectives on exercise prescription for chronic disease management and prevention. Shelley has held professional/clinical roles with a range of organisations including the RSL Lifecare Veterans Village (Narrabeen), the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and the University of Sydney. She has lectured in a number of topics related to exercise prescription and body composition and most recently Exercise, Health and Disease.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in the 21st Century (master class)

Thursday 6 March 1:30–3:00 pm

The presenter Professor Iain Broom is Director of the Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology (CORE) at Robert Gordon University and Clinical Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Aberdeen. He is also Medical Director of LighterLife, holds a Professorial Research Fellowship at the Rowett Research Centre and is a founding European SCOPE Fellow.

Summary of master class
Obesity and diabetes are linked, and hence the key to diabetes prevention is the management of weight. Are our current messages re the weight management in diabetes correct, or do we have to rethink our healthy eating message as the Swedes have done? Do we need a wardrobe as opposes to one suit fitting all? There is now evidence that type 2 diabetes can be put into remission, both medical (dietary) and surgical and lessons from this can be put into practice in the prevention of the disease. Discussions around these areas will be the basis of this master class.

This event was brought to you by the Centre for Obesity Management, Prevention and Research Excellence in Primary Health Care (COMPaRE-PHC) in partnership with the Boden Institute.

Environmental waist disposal (seminar)

Thursday 6 March 12:15–1:15 pm

The presenter Professor Iain Broom has been responsible, along with several UK colleagues, for the development of the Counterweight weight-management program, of which he is Chairman. Counterweight is one of the few weight-loss programs that have been successfully rolled out across a health system after research. Counterweight has over 12 years’ experience within the UK’s National Health Service and has been commissioned by over 30 primary care trusts and directly by the Scottish Government to implement Counterweight in 13 out of their 14 Health Boards as the weight management program of choice.

Seminar abstract
The obesity epidemic has not simply crept upon the human population, but has exploded as a major Public Health problem over 30 years. There have always been obesity problems throughout the age of man and obesity has been know to create health and early death problems since the time of Hippocrates. There is a strong genetic linkage to the likelihood of an individual becoming obese, but there is no way that our genetic inheritance has changed in such a short timescale. What has changed is the environment with which our genetic makeup now has to contend. Indeed obesity is probably the best example of gene-environment interaction producing disease. Within our genotype, however, there is the capacity to store fat in appropriate places for future energy transduction (subcutaneous) or as ectopic fat, an example being intra-abdominal fat the latter being seen as increasing waist circumference. The best example of this genotype-phenotype differences in fat deposition is within the comparison of Caucasians and Asians, the latter being more prone to deposit excess accumulation of fat in ectopic areas than the former.

It is therefore essential that we look at the changes that have occurred within our environment since the 1970's when the obesity explosion really started and examine ways by which we can mitigate these environmental effects to reduce our waist size or in effect to "increase WAIST disposal". We must, however, remember that waist circumference is only a surrogate for intra-abdominal fat and that other factors must be considered when assessing the overall risk of concomitant cardio metabolic disease in the obese. Failure to do so will result in inappropriate expenditure on targeting low risk individuals.

This event was brought to you by the Centre for Obesity Management, Prevention and Research Excellence in Primary Health Care (COMPaRE-PHC) in partnership with the Boden Institute.

Circadian drivers of poor mental and physical health

Thursday 27 February 12:00–1:00 pm

The presenter Professor Ian Hickie was appointed as the inaugural executive director of the flagship Brain & Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney in 2003. Since then he has overseen its development as a major hub in translational neuroscience and clinical psychiatry.

The Brain & Mind Sciences is one of the most fascinating areas of medical research. At its centre is improving our understanding of the nature of our most human experiences – emotion, affection, cognition and social relationships. When things go wrong, we see the most devastating effects on a person’s quality of life.

Improving our treatments, and making sure that people can access to those interventions, lie at the heart of Professor Ian Hickie's work. There is no doubt that the Brain & Mind Sciences will be at the centre of major breakthroughs in the 21st century. The impacts of such advances will go well beyond the treatment of illness to impact on broader issues such as child development, educational practices, workplace transformations and community development.

Behavioural weight management interventions in primary care

Thursday 6 February 12:00–1:00 pm

The presenter Ms Claire Madigan is a final year doctoral student at the University of Birmingham, England. After her study visit to Australia she will be working as a research fellow on a randomised controlled trial, examining the effect of self-weighing for weight maintenance. Her research interests include investigating behavioural weight management programmes, particularly those that can be utilised in primary care.

Prior to commencing her academic career, Claire worked as a public health practitioner commissioning services related to weight management and working strategically on local weight management services for children. She has utilised these experiences in her academic work, ensuring the focus is on interventions that are effective, but can also be implemented in a healthcare setting.

2011-2013 Events and Courses Archives

2013 Events and Courses Archive may be viewed here (PDF file).

2012 Events and Courses Archive may be viewed here (PDF file).

2011 Events and Courses Archive may be viewed here (PDF file).