To make good use of European travel prior to the ISBNPA conference in Sweden, Cynthia Smith (Deakin University) and I (The University of Sydney) met with Sarah Redsell, Professor of Children’s Community and Public Health, and various team members in the Centre for Children and Young People’s Health Research at the University of Nottingham, UK.
On the weekend before work kicked off, Sarah took us to some highlights in Cambridge, including the colleges, historical architecture, and the River Cam, and introduced us first-hand to some social determinants of health that impact how well programs work in the UK – for example, class and equity, and their impact across healthcare access and education attainment.
The School of Health Sciences at Nottingham gave us a warm welcome, including covering our stay at the Orchard Hotel (university-owned, and a convenient way to keep conference attendees at the East Midlands Conference Centre housed and fed), taking us around Highfields Park on the university main campus, and asking interesting cross-disciplinary questions on Cynthia and my PhD projects. They also appreciated our Australian gifts of Caramello Koalas and Tim Tams. We talked about where our work in nursing, allied health and children’s health intersected, included the growing area of work in responsive parenting in infant feeding and play, and using the COS-EPOCH outcomes in intervention design.
The ISBNPA conference was held in the wonderfully walkable and bikeable city of Uppsala – which was a case study of providing infrastructure to support physical activity, with bike pumps on many screen corners, bike racks at major buildings (including two-tiered racks!) and wide, two-lane pedestrian and cycling lanes to and from the assorted conference venues, including Uppsala Biomedical Centre for workshops, Uppsala University Hall for the opening ceremony, and Uppsala Konsert and Kongress and the Clarion Hotel for presentations.
Cynthia presented her poster on Thursday, and I presented my talk on Wednesday and poster on Saturday. Also attending ISBNPA were Brittany Johnson and Lene Seidler representing the TOPCHILD collaboration, Alex Manson (Flinders University) with her school meals research and Dimity Dutch’s screening tools systematic review, and Penny Love and Kylie Hesketh with early childhood setting nutrition and physical activity projects at Deakin University. I met with researchers in the infant formula feeding space, including A/Prof Pia Chaparro, whose research found that changes in WIC food packages reduced obesity risk in formula feeding children; Kristiane Tommerup, currently developing the BRIGHT app to support responsive formula feeding for parents; and Ana Paula Richter, whose work on toddler milk marketing suggest the need for policies to prevent the cross-marketing of toddler formula with infant formula (and who will be at Deakin University for a semester with Dr Kathryn Backholer’s team!).
ISBNPA was my first international conference – one of the wonderful things about it was the chance to hear about what’s happening across the world, what works in different contexts and what work will reach upcoming journals. For example, feedback from preschool centres taking part in the SuperFIT physical activity and nutrition intervention in the Netherlands included collaborating and being in-sync with different regional/national organisations (like preschool safety accreditation checks) to support embedding the program into long-term use; or something closer to home – the Nyiirunba gimal (Our Cooking) cookbook (opens PDF download) developed with community members in Worimi Country as part of the ‘Make n Take’ program with University of Newcastle, focusing on culturally relevant foods and supporting cooking skills. From here, I’m very excited in the possibility of future collaboration with researchers internationally in the area of responsive formula and bottle feeding, like Sarah Redsell’s team and collaborators across the University of Nottingham!