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Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids wins global award

Jul 27 2010

Associate Professor Philip Morgan

Hunter medical researcher, Associate Professor Philip Morgan and his team at the University of Newcastle have attracted international recognition for their groundbreaking obesity research.

The Healthy Dads Healthy Kids pilot project – a program reducing obesity levels in fathers by encouraging active family lifestyles, won Best Research in Public Health and Policy at the prestigious International Congress on Obesity.

The award is judged by an international scientific committee and peer voting with more than 100 international projects entered. Associate Professor Morgan was unable to attend the quadrennial Congress in Sweden. In his absence, the accolade was accepted by his colleagues Professor Clare Collins and Dr Tracy Burrows.

“This is a real thrill and a major achievement for our team of talented researchers. It proves to the world what we are capable of achieving here in the Hunter,” Associate Professor Morgan said.

“This award is also testament to the power of community support and a direct result of the initial funding we received from the 2008 Gastronomic Lunch. From that initial support, Healthy Dads Healthy Kids received the funding it needed to get off the ground and I wish to thank Neil Slater and the supporters who attend this great event each year.”

Gastronomic Lunch organiser, Mr Neil Slater said the restaurants of the foreshore are proud to be associated with a program that is making a real difference to people’s lives.

“The Gastronomic Lunch is a collaborative effort and wouldn’t be possible without the generosity and support of the restaurants of the foreshore, local businesses and the Harborview Function Centre,” Mr Slater said.

“Healthy Dads Healthy Kids is a great fit for the Gastronomic Lunch and we’re excited for Phil and his team. It’s extremely rewarding to learn our funding gave the program the kick start it needed to get off the ground and attract this global recognition.”

The early success of Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids led to a major donation from Coal & Allied to expand the program in a community setting throughout the Upper Hunter. Following the success of the Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids trial at the University of Newcastle during 2008/09, Coal & Allied has supported its expansion into regional communities in the Upper Hunter.

External Relations General Manager Fiona Nicholls said it is now being run in Singleton, and will roll out in primary schools in Muswellbrook, Scone, Maitland & Cessnock next year.

“Coal & Allied is proud to support this important community program, that will help Upper Hunter families to lead healthier, more enjoyable lives,” said Ms Nicholls.

“We’re keen to see whether Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids works as a sustainable education program in our communities.

“We look forward to helping this award winning community health initiative reach its full potential.”

Healthy Dads Healthy Kids is now recruiting overweight fathers from Singleton, Maitland, Cessnock, Muswellbrook and Scone. For more information call the Healthy Dads Healthy Kids study line on 4985 4038, or email healthydads@newcastle.edu.au

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