Health researchers claim prestigious awards

Sep 23 2014

Dr Tracy Burrows and Associate Professor David Lubans

HMRI researchers from the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition have featured prominently in the 2014 Scopus Young Researcher of the Year Awards, receiving honours in two of five categories.

Associate Professor David Lubans received a Scopus Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences division for his school-based research focusing on the physical activity and eating habits of children and adolescents.

For her work into child obesity, dietary assessment and food addiction, Dr Tracy Burrows won a Scopus Award in the Medicine and Medical Sciences category.

The research activities of both Associate Professor Lubans and Dr Burrows are conducted in conjunction with the HMRI’s Cardiovascular Health Program.

The prestigious Scopus Awards recognise outstanding young scientists and researchers in Australasia who have made significant contributions in their areas of research. Evaluated by expert panellists from Australia and New Zealand, applicants are judged on research output, impact and esteem.
Associate Professor Lubans led the Supporting Children’s Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise and Skills (SCORES) program, a year-long physical activity and movement skills intervention.

The project was funded by HMRI supporters the Newcastle Jets and Newcastle Gastronomic Lunch. It produced significant fitness benefits for more than 200 young Hunter school children, with its outcomes published in leading sports science journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Associate Professor Lubans also led a research project into the link between adolescent boys, the amount of time that they spend in front of a computer or TV screen and their level of physical fitness. Called Active Teen Leaders Avoiding Screen-time (ATLAS), it is investigating the correlation between increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour to improve health and wellbeing in adolescent boys who are ‘at-risk’ of obesity.

Dr Burrows has been instrumental in the delivery of more than 50 healthy lifestyle intervention programs focused on improving diets of the community. Conducted with a variety of population groups, including Indigenous and low-income families, her interventions have significantly improved the dietary intakes of individuals, and families.

Her work has been supported by HMRI grants:

Rotary Club of Newcastle Enterprise Youth Research Project Grant:

Feasibility of targeting parents with heart disease to improve the heart health of their children

By focussing on Hunter parents who have experienced a heart disease event requiring hospitalisation in the past year, this study aimed to improve heart health in children. Families were given feedback on their dietary intake and assistance to adopt heart healthy eating habits.
Michael and Felicity Thomson:

The investigation of factors affecting the success of family-based dietary interventions for parents experiencing cardiovascular disease events.

Ken McLaren Memorial Fund:

Diet and Cardiovascular disease risk

This project developed and validated a cardiac specific Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) with a corresponding diet quality index aligned with foods and eating patterns identified as being compatible with cardiovascular health.

Dr Burrows’ recent research involves international collaborations which investigate food addiction.

* HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.