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Stronger Culture, Healthier Lifestyles  

The Project

Obesity prevention_aboutpageStronger Cultures, Healthier Lifestyles looks at the development of an afterschool cultural and activity program for Aboriginal children living in disadvantaged areas of the Shoalhaven. 

The health disparity and social disadvantage between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in NSW is a major public health concern.

Compared with their non-Aboriginal peers, Aboriginal children aged 5-16 years are 1.4 times more likely to be overweight or obese, exceed screen time recommendations on weekdays and engage in unhealthy eating habits.  

This project offers a unique after-school program that encourages Aboriginal children to connect with their culture and focuses on culturally relevant activities chosen by the local Aboriginal community, including physical activities and healthy lifestyle choices.  

“This is the first program of its kind where connection to culture is the focal point to improve children’s healthy lifestyle behaviours and build confidence in who they are.” says Chief Investigator, Dr Rebecca Stanley.

The Researchers

Obesity prevention_researcherspageThis multi-component afterschool program brings together researchers in social sciences, health sciences and humanities and social inquiry (specifically Indigenous studies) to transform lives of Aboriginal children living in disadvantaged areas of the Illawarra region in a positive and motivating way.

Dr Rebecca Stanley is a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Early Start Research Institute, within the Faculty of Social Sciences. Her current research focuses on children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour and developing and testing culturally appropriate practices in afterschool settings to support all children to develop healthier lifestyles. She will contribute to the design, implementation and evaluation of the program and consult with local Aboriginal communities and children.

Dr Yasmine Probst is an NHMRC TRIP Senior Research Fellow of the School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health. Her research focuses on dietary assessment methodology and food composition and the application of technology to such processes. Dr Probst’s role in the team will be to advise on dietary assessment, healthy snack choices and to supervise the dietetic honours student.

Professor Tony Okely is a Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Director of the Early Start Research Institute. His current research focuses on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and motor skill development in children aged 0-12 years. He has over 12 years experience in designing, implementing and evaluating school and community-based interventions. Prof Okely will advise on the development of the afterschool program, training of Aboriginal coaches and physical activity and sedentary behaviour assessment.

Dr Lyn Phillipson is a public health academic and experienced social marketer. She is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Society and Associate Director of the Centre for Health Initiatives in UOW’s Faculty of Social Sciences. Dr Phillipson will assist with design of formative research and development of the afterschool program materials, including marketing and promotion.

Alfredo R. Paloyo is Lecturer at the School of Accounting, Economics, and Finance and a Research Fellow of the RWI and the IZA in Germany, as well as the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course. His research interests broadly include issues of labour, health, development, and defense economics, with a specific emphasis on social policy evaluation.

Anthony McKnight is an Awabakal, Gumaroi and Yuin Man and the Aboriginal Education subject co-ordinator in the School of Education. He is currently at the final stages of his PhD and his research focuses on the importance of Aboriginal Country in Aboriginal knowledge systems and processes in teacher education and research. Anthony’s role will be to advise on appropriate cultural practices and assist with interpretation of research outcomes.

Ruth Crowe is a current PhD student who was involved in the Global Challenges Seed Funding project. Her research interest is in food security in Aboriginal communities and understanding the relationship between cultural connectedness and healthy eating. Ruth will contribute to the dietary assessment and develop the methodologies for assessing cultural connectedness.

Last reviewed: 19 December, 2016

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