Our previous work in EPOCH-CRE (2016-2021) focused on what is needed to prevent obesity in early childhood. Specifically, we generated high level evidence that early intervention significantly improved child weight status in early childhood. We developed rapid and validated measurement tools of key obesity-related behaviours in infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. Our novel health economic and modeling studies produced a toolbox for economic evaluation in early prevention of childhood obesity, which is important to assess cost-effectiveness evidence useful for policymakers. Lastly, we improved out understanding on key factors to enable scaling up of interventions and sustain it.
Read more about key learnings from out past work
Analysing interventions to prevent obesity in early childhood
The first prospective meta-analysis of large, high-quality trials evaluating obesity prevention interventions starting in pregnancy or infancy. This work provides Level 1 evidence on the effectiveness of early obesity prevention interventions. The published papers provide further insights on key factors to consider when designing future trials.
Childhood obesity: why early and sustained prevention matters
Researchers developed the EPOCH health economic model which accurately predicts body mass index (BMI) trajectories and quality of life from age 4 to 15 years. An adapted version accounts for socioeconomic positions. The two models will assist policymakers to identify the future impacts of early intervention, the most cost-effective intervention approaches and the population groups who will benefit most from interventions.
Building the economic case for preventing obesity in early childhood
This program of research identified the direct healthcare costs associated with early childhood obesity; the costs and benefits of early childhood obesity prevention interventions; and provided cost-effectiveness evidence. Early obesity prevention could potentially deliver significant and immediate healthcare expenditure savings to the Australian health system.
Integrating early childhood obesity prevention into health services
INFANT and Healthy Beginnings are two early obesity prevention interventions that were implemented at scale and integrated into health services in Victoria and NSW. This work provided evidence on key enablers to translate proven programs into health services and at scale.
National leadership needed to prevent obesity in early childhood
Australia urgently needs a coordinated national policy infrastructure for obesity prevention. States and territories governments are eager for a National Obesity Strategy; the public similarly showed strong support for broad policies to address childhood obesity. These studies show the importance of national leadership in obesity prevention and how population policy approaches could be applied.
A national dialogue on addressing obesity from early life
EPOCH CRE hosted an online national dialogue involving senior policymakers around Australia. The event showcased EPOCH CRE research works over the last five years followed by a discussion with policymakers on how early prevention of childhood obesity can be advanced in Australia. Researchers and policymakers shared their insights on how to take the current evidence forward towards scalable implementation and policy support.
Preventing obesity in early childhood – What can Victorian local governments do?
Preventing childhood obesity from the beginning of life is critically important and complex – yet we know more about how to achieve prevention than ever before. Picking up on prevention must happen across Government. In this workshop, you will hear from researchers and policymakers on the evidence for early prevention of childhood obesity, strategies for implementing early obesity prevention initiatives and networks and resources available to local governments in Victoria.
Bringing evidence into practice
Research on obesity prevention in early life is growing, with many studies demonstrating some early prevention interventions to be efficacious. The translation of research trials into interventions delivered ‘at scale’ are limited, but are fast becoming a key focus of government and funding bodies to address early obesity prevention at a population level. This webinar presents findings regarding the spread and scale of two world-first Australian early childhood obesity prevention initiatives – INFANT (VIC) and Healthy Beginnings (NSW).
- The evidence-base behind two leading Australian early childhood obesity prevention interventions;
- The application of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) in unpacking barriers and enablers to implementation and sustainability of early childhood obesity prevention interventions;
- Key research, practice and policy learnings to enhance embedding of evidence-based interventions within health service delivery systems
The economics of early childhood obesity prevention
This webinar presents the work of the health economics stream of the Centre for Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (CRE EPOCH), on the following topics:
- The CRE EPOCH health economic model, and the studies that contributed to its development;
- The cost-effectiveness of two early childhood obesity prevention interventions, Romp & Chomp and the Prevention of Overweight in Infancy (POI);
- Key health economic messages for policy and practice.
Moving the field forward through collaboration
The TOPCHILD Collaboration unites researchers in early childhood obesity prevention worldwide, and is leading the way in innovative knowledge synthesis methodologies in this field.
- Advanced types of meta-analyses and methods to understand intervention components
- Findings from applying these methods with four EPOCH early childhood obesity prevention interventions, as well as learnings to consider when designing interventions in future
- The TOPCHILD Collaboration taking these approaches to a global scale by bringing together 33 trials (including >35,000 participants), with additional trials currently being invited to join
Promoting breastfeeding among culturally diverse families in Australia
Australian children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have higher rates of childhood obesity. Improving breastfeeding rates is important to promote infant health and reduce the risks of obesity in early childhood. To reach and engage culturally diverse minority groups, tailored intervention approaches are needed. This webinar presented outcomes from two PhD research projects focusing on infant feeding influences and strategies to promote breastfeeding among Chinese and Arabic mothers in Australia.
- Breastfeeding trends among Chinese Australian mothers, key factors influencing their feeding practices and insights on culturally specific strategies to better support Chinese Australian mothers to breastfeed.
- Feasibility of culturally adapting the Healthy Beginnings program, focusing on infant feeding. She will describe the cultural adaptation process and participants’ perspectives of the adapted program.