Past Events



Preventing obesity in early childhood – What can Victorian local governments do?

A recording of the workshop hosted by Victoria-based academics from the Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood on 14 October 2021.

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.

On 9th September, 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.  A recording of the event can be accessed here.


EPOCH EMCRs Webinars

Watch the webinar recordings here to learn more about recent works around early prevention of childhood obesity from EPOCH CRE EMCRs.


14 April 2021 - Bringing evidence into practice

                                 - video can be accessed here


2 March 2021the economics of early childhood obesity prevention

                                  - Video about EPOCH economic model can be accessed here



EPOCH EMCRs Webinars

Watch the webinar recordings here to learn more about recent works around early prevention of childhood obesity from EPOCH CRE EMCRs.


17 December 2020 – moving the field forward through collaboration


27 November 2020 - Promoting breastfeeding among culturally diverse families in Australia



EPOCH CRE Annual Meeting 2020


The 2020 EPOCH CRE annual meeting was held on 3-4 December via Zoom, bringing together early childhood obesity prevention researchers from around Australia.  In what was going to be the final year of the CRE funding (now extended to late 2021), the CRE is on track to complete its planned research activities.  Read more for highlights of the CRE annual meeting.


Professor Louise Baur, director of EPOCH CRE, opened the meeting with a touching acknowledgement of the country and welcomed around 30 collaborators in Australia and New Zealand, spanning four different time zones! 


All Streams are in the final phases of their work showing an impressive amount of research outputs.  The Stream 1 team published the world’s-first prospective meta-analysis on early childhood obesity prevention showing a modest but meaningful reduction in BMI-z score.  Members of the team were awarded an NHMRC Ideas Grant in 2020 for the TOPCHILD project to unpack how the interventions work and for whom, which will enable interventions to be tailored to specific population groups. 


Stream 2 is conducting its final study to validate several rapid tools to measure obesity related aspects of dietary, movement and sleep, in infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children for policy and practice purposes.  The team plans to host information sessions for interested researchers, policymakers and practitioners, to facilitate the use and adoption of the tools. 


Stream 3 presented findings on the cost effectiveness of several early childhood obesity prevention interventions and the impact of age and socioeconomic positions on weight and health-related quality of life.  The findings provide an important economic argument for the early prevention of childhood obesity and highlighted the urgent need for more trials to include cost evaluation data. 


Stream 4 is forging ahead with work to scaling up Healthy Beginnings (NSW) and INFANT (VIC) and embedding  these programs into routine health services.  Both programs have received further funding from NHMRC and MRFF grant schemes to support the scaling up of the programs within their respective states.  They shared important learnings for scaling up including alignment of the program with the core business of practitioners, adequate structural support and strategies to enhance parental engagement in the program.  A further finding is that childhood obesity prevention policies are relatively invisible but there is strong public support for a broad population approach to prevent obesity. 


Knowledge translation and dissemination will be a strong focus for EPOCH CRE in 2021 with several state and national events being planned.  The annual meeting ended on a high note with Professor Karen Campbell, previous co-director of EPOCH CRE, reflecting on how the CRE began and what it has been able to accomplish.    


COVID-19 affected events

All conference presentations by our members have been cancelled, postponed or delivered remotely due to COVID-19.  The following is a list of the presentation details and contact person of the first author.  When the presentations or poster become available, they will be uploaded here. 


Limin Buchanan


‘Associations of dietary behaviour and screen time of pregnant women with their childbirth weight: findings from a CHAT study in Australia’, accepted for oral presentation at 19th Annual Meeting of International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA). Auckland, New Zealand, July 17-20 2020.


Andrea Fuller

‘A peer-led intervention targeting obesity-related behaviours and delivered to parents at community-based playgroups is both feasible and acceptable’, accepted for poster presentation at 19th Annual Meeting of International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA). Auckland, New Zealand, July 17-20 2020.

The aim of the pilot trial was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a peer-led obesity-prevention intervention delivered to parents of young children attending community playgroups. The intervention was both feasible and acceptable. The peer-led “healthy conversations” delivery model, and the leveraging of existing social support networks were important and novel aspects of the intervention

Widjane Goncalves

‘Psychometric properties of an instrument designed to measure parenting

practices and children’s obesity-related behaviours from Brazil’, accepted for poster presentation at 19th Annual Meeting of International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA). Auckland, New Zealand, July 17-20 2020.


‘Parental influences on physical activity and screen time among preschool

children from rural Brazil’, accepted for poster presentation at 19th Annual Meeting of International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA). Auckland, New Zealand, July 17-20 2020.


Sarah Marshall


‘Supporting migrant mothers with infant feeding and healthy growth: qualitative evaluation of the culturally adapted Healthy Beginnings program’, accepted for oral presentation at 19th Annual Meeting of International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA). Auckland, New Zealand, July 17-20 2020.


Konsita Kuswara

‘It makes me feel motherly’ – Breastfeeding and motherhood identity’, accepted for poster presentation at the World Public Health Nutrition Congress. Brisbane, Australia, March 31 – April 3 2020.


The context of early formula introduction among Chinese Australian mothers have not been previously examined.  Using interpretative phenomenological analysis approach, this study compared the early feeding experiences of first time Chinese Australian mothers who breastfed exclusively for four months to those who introduced formula in the first week of birth.   The findings provide insights into how Chinese Australian mothers can be supported to breastfeed exclusively.



June 27 and 28, 2019: EPOCH CRE Annual Meeting

Deakin Downton – Tower 2, level 12/727 Collins St, Melbourne


In the third year of the CRE, the annual meeting held in Melbourne celebrated the many successes accomplished to date and planning to translate stream outputs for policy and practice at the end of CRE.   Some of the highlights include:


Stream 1

  • Near publication of the main outcomes at two years of the prospective meta-analysis of the early childhood obesity prevention trials in Australia and New Zealand (EPOCH collaboration).
  • EPOCH CRE is a major repository for early childhood obesity prevention trials worldwide and the list is rapidly expanding. Stream 1 is leading the next phase of research involving these trials.

Stream 2

  • Methodological expertise in best practice tool development.

Stream 3

  • Developed tools for evaluating cost effectiveness and cost utility of early childhood obesity prevention initiatives
  • Established new national and international collaborations to advance the economic evaluation of childhood obesity prevention strategies.

Stream 4

  • Two NHMRC partnership grants funded to scale up existing early childhood obesity prevention programs in VIC and NSW.
  • Understanding of policy leverage points for obesity prevention in early life.


  • Professor Marj Moodie (Stream 3 chief investigator) has been involved in several CREs and she shared her learnings on what makes an effective CRE.
  • 16 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers presented their work.
  • Professor Sarah McNaughton led a workshop on grant writing.



The Obesity Collective

Members of the CRE attended the launch of the Obesity Collective on 31 July 2018 held at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

The Collective is a group of committed individuals and organisations (NGOs, Academics, entrepreneurs, private sectors, community leaders, Government, healthcare providers etc.) who are working as a collective to help drive more action on obesity in Australia.

The Collective Plan for Action on Obesity aims to raise awareness, change the narrative from a focus on personal responsibility to collective responsibility, map activity and gaps across the system, provide a source of truth on the current evidence, create a platform to better collaborate and support new players in society to contribute.
For further information, please contact:



Members of the CRE will be attending the 23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion, 7 - 11 April 2019, Rotorua, Aotearoa New Zealand.


Members of the CRE will be attending the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual meeting from 4-7 June 2019, Prague, Czech Republic.



May 10 and May 11, 2018 - Annual Meeting and

Showcase Event:  hosted by EPOCH CRE and NSW Health

Topic: Research Policy and Practice coming together to prevent overweight and obesity among children 0-5 years


Our second annual meeting was held at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney on May 10-11. It was a great success and over 40 collaborators including postdoctoral fellows and PhD students, attended. There were workshops on the Behaviour Change Wheel  and how it can apply to our work,  Statistical Challenges and one of the many highlights was the session on  Effective Communication and Social Media Lessons given by Medical Entomologist and Communications Expert Cameron Webb.  There were opportunities for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers to present their work and research plans and get valuable feedback from experts. We also held a joint showcase “Research, policy and practice coming together to prevent overweight and obesity among children 0-5 years” which was jointly presented with staff from the New South Wales Ministry of Health.





Rachael Taylor

Congratulations to Rachael Taylor who has been promoted to Professor.  A well-earned reflection of her research excellence.


April 2017 - 15th World Congress on Public Health

The EPOCH CRE will be presenting our work at the 15th World Congress on Public Health to be held in Melbourne from April 3 -7, 2017.   We hope to see you there!

 Paediatric Academic Societies Conference in San Francisco - May 6-9, 2017

Lisa Askie presented at the Paediatric Academic Societies Conference in San Francisco on May 6-9, 2017.  Her talk was titled "The Early Prevention of Obesity in Children (EPOCH) Collaboration - results of an individual participant data prospective meta analysis.  40 people attended.


Karen Campbell

Congratulations to Karen Campbell who has been promoted to Professor.  A well deserved recognition for her many years of outstanding work.


Launch: The Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood
(EPOCH CRE) - April 20

New Centre pursues research into health in early childhood

A world-first research centre exclusively focused on tackling the childhood obesity epidemic was launched On April 20, 2016 at the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre (CPC).

Globally renowned experts from seven universities across Australia, New Zealand and the UK will join forces through the new Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood, to be housed at the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney.

The new NHMRC-funded Centre will pursue cutting-edge research into the prevention of obesity in childhood, examining the crucial early years of life to better understand the importance of good nutrition, exercise and the effects of screen time in children aged zero to five.

"Currently one in five children in Australia is already affected by overweight or obesity by the time they start school. By just focusing on intervening at primary school level, it's already too late," said Director of the Centre Professor Louise Baur from Sydney Medical School.

"The first few years of life are really vital for establishing patterns for good health, wellbeing and happiness across the lifespan." 


"Significant changes in our broad environment have made it harder for children to eat well and be as active as they might have been a generation ago."  Prof Louise Baur


"We know that behaviours that are really important for lifelong health and wellbeing – eating well, being active and sleeping patterns – are all established in early childhood. Intervening early and knowing how best to support parents in this crucial phase is essential in raising healthy children."

For the first time, leading researchers will share data from existing trials – including from the first worldwide randomised trials into childhood obesity prevention – to help develop new methods and tools to monitor obesity-related behaviours in young children.

The $2.5 million Centre, which is funded until 2020, will bring together specialists from a variety of disciplines including paediatricians, dietitians, health experts, economists and exercise physiologists, bringing a multidisciplinary approach to the complex childhood obesity problem.

"It's currently very difficult to measure at the population level the kinds of activities young children are engaged in: what they are eating, how much they're exercising, how much screen time they're exposed to and the amount they are sleeping," said Professor Baur.

"This information provides vital clues for policymakers and health practitioners, helping them to devise more effective public interventions on wide-ranging issues related to childhood obesity, from improving babies' sleeping patterns to decreasing the amount of screen time."

Another aim of the research group is to assess the economic impacts of good health and nutrition in early life and the flow-on effects into adulthood.

"Very few obesity preventions in early childhood have been subjected to economic evaluation, and yet information on cost-effectiveness, equity, affordability and sustainability are all vital to decisions about program implementation," said Professor Baur.

"This Centre will make a substantial contribution to ending the burden of childhood obesity in Australia and internationally by addressing these significant knowledge gaps, and will help to translate world-leading research into effective and targeted policy programs to reverse the concerning upward trends in childhood obesity."



Research Translation Symposium - November 29

Lost in Translation: Translating research to inform policy and practice

We are dedicated to easing the global burden of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and related conditions
through innovative research and teaching. However many of our solutions get lost in translation due to the complexities
of policy and practice.
This symposium will demonstrate the importance of generating and employing policy-and-practice related evidence
and showcase how the Prevention Research Collaboration at the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney is
endeavouring to close the gap between research and practice.
The symposium is organised by the Prevention Research Collaboration, CRE-EPOCH and the Charles Perkins Centre.
More details can be found at: