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

Upcoming events in the 2014 Boden Institute Academic Research Seminar Series

Online courses available


Developmental origins of health and disease

Thursday 1 May 12:00–1:00 pm

Venue: Medical Foundation Building Auditorium, The Medical Foundation Building – K25, 92-94 Parramatta Road, Camperdown, The University of Sydney

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

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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.

Image of a foetus

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.

Giving a Tick to Junk Food in Schools

Thursday 29 May 1:00–2:00 pm

Venue: Medical Foundation Building Auditorium, Medical Foundation Building – K25, 92-94 Parramatta Road, Camperdown, The University of Sydney

Presenter: Dr Kieron Rooney from the Faculty of Health Sciences

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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.

Image of a lunchbox

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, Dr Kieron Rooney from the Faculty of Health Sciences 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.

Kieron 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. For more information see his full profile.

Innovative Eating Disorder Research

Thursday 12 June 12:00–1:00 pm

Venue: Medical Foundation Building Auditorium, Medical Foundation Building – K25, 92-94 Parramatta Road, Camperdown, The University of Sydney

Presenters: Professor Janice Russell and Dr Sarah Maguire

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The Eating and Dieting Disorders group within the Boden Institute is pleased to present original research currently being undertaken by two of Australia’s leading Eating Disorder specialists.

Professor Janice Russell is a Clinical Professor in Psychological Medicine at the University of Sydney 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, about which she presented a workshop at the 2014 International Conference on Eating Disorders in New York.

Dr Sarah Maguire is a Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lecturer for the Boden Institute, and Director of NSW Health's Centre for Eating and Dieting Disorders (CEDD). 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.

Ultra-processed foods: A new concept in nutrition guidance

Thursday 3 July 12:00–1:00 pm

Venue: Medical Foundation Building Auditorium, Medical Foundation Building – K25, 92-94 Parramatta Road, Camperdown, The University of Sydney

Presenter: Associate Professor Timothy Gill from the Boden Institute

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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 of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders at the University of Sydney. 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.

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

Dr Michael Skilton

Dr Michael Skilton

Thursday 14 August 12:00–1:00 pm

Venue: Level 6 Seminar Room, Charles Perkins Centre - D17, Johns Hopkins Drive (off Missenden Road), The University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW 2006

Presenter: Dr Michael Skilton from the Boden Institute

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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, based at the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders, University of Sydney. 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.

Whither preventive health - the legacy of ANPHA

Ms Louise Sylvan, CEO of ANPHA

Ms Louise Sylvan, CEO of ANPHA

Wednesday 20 August 11:00 am–12:30 pm

Venue: The Great Hall, Quadrangle Building, The University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW 2006

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Summary of talk

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.


11:05 - 11:10 Professor Ian Caterson, Director, The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders and Acting Director, The Charles Perkins Centre Clinical Research Facility

11:10 - 11:20 Professor Steve Simpson, Academic Director, The Charles Perkins Centre

11:20 - 11:30 Professor Adrian Bauman, Director, The Prevention Research Collaboration

11:30 - 11:40 Professor Stephen Leeder, Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine

11:40 - 11:50 Dr Kerry Chant, Chief Health Officer and Deputy Secretary of Population and Public Health, will speak on health prevention

11:50 - 12:15 Ms Louise Sylvan, CEO of ANPHA, will speak on “Reflections on ANPHA – highlights of national prevention leadership”

12:15 - 12:30 Q&A session

Image of pumpkins


Diagnosing, Managing and Assessing Eating Disorders – an online course for health professionals

Who is this course for?

General and mental health professionals including GPs, Psychologists, Nurses, Dietitians, Psychiatrists, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers and Counsellors

Who runs the course?

The Centre for Eating and Dieting Disorders (CEDD) as part of the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders

Level of assumed knowledge

The course is open to all interested health professionals

Course overview

This course covers:

  • Understanding Eating Disorders
  • Assessment
  • Preparation for Treatment
  • Treatment Approaches
  • Management

Course duration

Each of the 5 core modules contain 3.5 hours of learning so 17.5 hours in total

How is the course assessed?

Online quizzes at the end of each module

Method of delivery

The course is delivered online and registered participants will have 6 months to complete the course

Course cost

$195 Australian Professionals
$295 Overseas Professionals
10% discount for organisations registering 10 or more participants

Course dates

The course is self-directed learning and participants have 6 months from registration to complete it

Is this course accredited for CME points?

This course has been accredited as professional development training by the ACMHN (up to 18 points), the RACGP (2 category 2 points for each hour completed) and the Australian Counselling Association (34 points). Accreditation has been recently requested and is pending for the RCNA and ACRRM

Can this course contribute to an academic degree?



To register click here

Contacts and further information

Shandra Coppard
CEDD Administration Manager
T: 02 8587 0203

Adrienne O'Dell
Project Coordinator

For further information download the course brochure or visit the CEDD website