Contact: Dr Nicole Nathan

What is the issue?

  • Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are responsible for 70% of all deaths globally.
  • To combat this growing epidemic, governments spend billions of dollars each year investing in prevention interventions that address the leading risk factors for these diseases. These focus on increasing physical activity, improving dietary intake and reducing harmful alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Schools and early childhood education and care settings are crucial settings for the implementation of evidence based interventions that address these chronic disease risk factors.
  • The public health benefits of these intervention is dependent on how well and for how long implementation can be sustained
  • Only 1 in 5 programs continue to be delivered once implementation support is withdrawn. This is a costly and critical health system issue.
  • Currently, there is little evidence about how best to support sustained implementation of chronic disease prevention interventions in schools and early childhood and care settings. This research will seek to address some of the fundamental knowledge gaps in the field.

How this research program will help:
Our goal is to create evidence that policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders can use to ensure their interventions are made to last, and that health benefits endure in the long term.
Specifically, we are:

  • Synthesising empirical evidence about the determinants of sustained implementation of diet, physical activity and obesity prevention initiatives in education settings.
  • Developing and evaluating various measures of sustainability determinants for use in education settings.
  • Developing and testing the effectiveness of strategies for sustaining diet, physical activity and obesity prevention initiatives in education settings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sustainability Summary

How we will conduct this research:                                                           

  • Systematic reviews of determinants, strategies and measures of sustainment.
  • Longitudinal studies with Australian primary schools and early education ad childhood centres, to explore issues relating to sustained delivery of chronic disease prevention programs.
  • Randomised controlled studies and trial-based economic analyses to explore the effect and cost of strategies to support long-term delivery of chronic disease prevention interventions.