Why is childhood obesity a problem?

Obesity affects children even prior to school entry: 1 in 5 Australian children are overweight or obese at age 5 years. Further, early childhood is a period when many behaviours that promote the development of obesity – such as poor eating habits and physical inactivity - are established or begin to track into later life. It is also a time when biology is most amenable to change, and hence interventions are more likely to have sustained effects on health. The prevention of obesity in early childhood is now of policy interest, both nationally and internationally. However, the evidence base for interventions needs to be further developed, and translated into policy and practice environments.



What the CRE is doing and how it will make a difference?

The Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (EPOCH CRE) aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related behaviours in the first five years of life, and their future impact. Professor Louise Baur from the University Of Sydney leads a diverse team of experts from around Australia and the world to bridge the current gaps in research, practice and policy and help improve the health outcomes for children as they grow into adulthood. Our lead Universities include the University of Sydney, Deakin University, the Flinders University, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Otago in New Zealand.


The EPOCH CRE’s research work is organised as four inter-related research Streams:

  1. Analysing interventions to prevent obesity in early childhood;
  2. Advancing assessment of obesity-related behaviours;
  3. Economic evaluation of early childhood obesity prevention
  4. Translation of evidence into policy and practice