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New Research to Target Obesity and Tobacco

8 March 2012 at 9:05 am
Staff Reporter
Community issues around obesity and tobacco will be investigated by the Cancer Council of Victoria after being awarded two major research grants from the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA).

Staff Reporter | 8 March 2012 at 9:05 am


New Research to Target Obesity and Tobacco
8 March 2012 at 9:05 am

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Community issues around obesity and tobacco will be investigated by the Cancer Council of Victoria after being warded two major research grants worth almost $750,000 from the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA).

The first grant, of $348,093, has been awarded for a two-year study to identify how to use mass media to promote healthy diet, weight and activity to Australians.

The study will be led by Dr Helen Dixon from Cancer Council Victoria’s Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer and will be conducted in collaboration with the Cancer Institute NSW.

Another grant of almost $390,000 will go towards a collaborative research project between the Melbourne Law School and Cancer Council Victoria’s McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, to explore the impact of international trade and investment law on cancer prevention.

Dr Dixon said the findings from her research will inform recommendations for successful mass media campaigns promoting healthy weight, physical activity and healthy eating.

“We know from previous work on public health issues like smoking and sun protection that mass media campaigns can be very effective in changing population health behaviour,” Dixon said. “However, we have very little evidence about the characteristics of effective media campaigns on obesity prevention”

“These are really important issues to address, since overweight and obesity affects many children and adults in our community, placing them at increased risk of Type II Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a number of types of cancer.”

The director of the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer Jonathan Liberman said that his study was particularly important in the current environment, where industries such as the tobacco industry are threatening or bringing legal challenges under international trade and investment law to undermine public health initiatives.

“The project is particularly timely in light of the challenge to Australia’s world-first plain tobacco packaging legislation brought by Philip Morris Asia under a bilateral investment agreement between Australia and Hong Kong,” Liberman said.

Also receiving $247,340 ANPHA funding was a collaborative project between Baker IDI and Monash University. Jane Martin, executive manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition which is located within Cancer Council Victoria, will take on the role of chief investigator for the study.

The Cancer Council Victoria chief executive Todd Harper said that the ANPHA research grants provided a welcome opportunity to strengthen the science of prevention in Australia.

“We are delighted with the awarding of these highly competitive grants which will help strengthen prevention efforts in important areas such as obesity and the law,” Harper said.

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