Conference highlights - Austral-Asia Obesity Research Update Virtual Conference, October 2020

The solution to childhood obesity lies in sustained interventions: modelling study (A/Prof Alison Hayes)


A/Prof Alison Hayes and the health economics Stream previously developed the EPOCH model, which is the first micro-simulation model in Australia to predict BMI and obesity trajectories over childhood and adolescence.  Using the EPOCH model, the team evaluated BMI trajectories, overweight and obesity, and associated healthcare cost savings resulting from BMI intervention effects in early, mid and late childhood informed by Cochrane reviews.  


In this presentation, Alison presented the findings, which showed that the individual interventions did not have a major impact on adolescent overweight. However, three interventions that were ongoing throughout childhood, resulted in half the overweight and obesity prevalence in late adolescence and healthcare cost savings of $187 per child compared to the no intervention scenario.  


Interventions sustained throughout childhood could potentially result in vastly improved outcomes and healthcare cost-savings by late adolescence.


For further details, please contact A/Prof Alison Hayes at or on Twitter @alihayes333


Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash




Cost-effectiveness of scaling up a whole of community intervention to prevent obesity in pre-schoolers nationally: the Romp & Chomp early childhood obesity prevention intervention (Michelle Tran)


Romp & Chomp was a community-wide, multi-setting and multi-strategy obesity prevention intervention for children aged under five that has been shown to be effective in reducing BMI.


The EPOCH health economics stream conducted a study to assess the potential cost-effectiveness of the Romp & Chomp intervention.  Cost effectiveness is an important consideration for scale up and adoption at the population level.   

The study indicated that the intervention has a 64% probability of being cost-effective if it is scaled up and delivered in early education and care settings. Romp & Chomp should be considered as part of a package of population level interventions to reduce the prevalence of obesity in children.




Feasibility of culturally adapting the Healthy Beginnings program for early obesity prevention (Sarah Marshall)


Australian children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are at higher risk of obesity. Although effective early childhood obesity prevention research interventions exist, none have been tailored to culturally and linguistically diverse groups in Australia.  


EPOCH PhD candidate Sarah Marshall, with a team at Sydney Local Health District, culturally adapted an existing intervention (Healthy Beginnings) to improve relevance for Arabic and Chinese speaking communities in Sydney. The study showed that implementing the culturally adapted Healthy Beginnings among Arabic and Chinese speaking communities is feasible and has the potential for progression to an effectiveness trial. This work contributes to reducing inequalities and supporting culturally and linguistically diverse families in the early prevention of obesity