April 2016
What’s new at the Prevention Research Collaboration?
Editorial Note
Welcome to the April 2016 edition of the PRC newsletter. Never a dull moment here at the PRC, where exciting and important epidemiology, translation, intervention and policy work is happening all the time. There is also a steady stream of researchers from near and afar visiting the PRC for short or longer periods of time, bringing with them a continuous supply of fresh air.

In this edition, we share the stimulating new “Thinkers in residence” program, where current thinkers David Ogilvie and Don Nutbeam think about conceptual frameworks around complex program evaluations and help us to think beyond our current areas of prevention.

Anne Grunseit reports on a TAPPC review of mass media campaigns addressing physical activity, nutrition and obesity in Australia over the last 20 years.

The 45 and Up study which followed 25,000 people over three years reports that retirement could be the start of a more active and healthy lifestyle.

To circumvent the obstacles to capacity building created by location, economy and societal issues, the PRC launched an online capacity building course on global obesity prevention and management at the start of the year.

The PRC recently hosted two successful and interesting events.  Bill Bellew shares his take on Shellie Pfohl’s seminar on ‘The President’s (Obama) Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition’ and Erika Goldbaum reports on David Ogilvie’s ‘pursuit of rigorous evaluation in the real world’.

We also report on an example of practising what we preach, where the PANORG’s work plan meeting played out in a rather dynamic style.

A big thank you to the great editorial team of Joanne Gale, Erika Bohn-Goldbaum, Anne Grunseit and Sinead Boylan. 

Happy reading!

Lina Engelen
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Thinkers in Residence Program: Dr David Ogilvie, Prof Don Nutbeam

PRC has recently welcomed two "thinkers in residence".  Dr David Ogilvie from Cambridge, is an expert in complex program evaluation especially in the evaluation of physical activity interventions for transport as well as the built environment. David has worked with us in developing conceptual frameworks around complex program evaluations - an important strand of our research in PRC. This theme also links to our interest, through TAPPC, around methods for both scaling up interventions and evaluating system level interventions. One of the many outcomes from David’s visit (now concluded) will be the ongoing development of a small personalised online course (SPOC) in complex program evaluation which we anticipate will be delivered late 2016 to invited participants in New South Wales.

Our current thinker in residence is Professor Don Nutbeam, who has had a distinguished university career.  Initially Professor of Health Promotion at The University of Sydney, Prof Nutbeam is back with us 1-2 days per week throughout 2016. Don’s plans include providing support to health promotion in the School of Public Health; assisting us in thinking strategically about our prevention teaching; providing mentorship to research staff in health promotion, disease prevention, health literacy and work in social disadvantage; and helping us to think expansively beyond our work in physical activity, nutrition and obesity to engage in other areas of prevention.

TAPPC Report: Mass media campaigns addressing physical activity, nutrition and obesity in Australia 1996-2015: an updated narrative review
In March, the Rapid Response Evaluation Capacity (RREC) of The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (TAPPC) finalised a comprehensive review of Australian mass media campaigns addressing physical activity, nutrition and obesity over the past 20 years.  A total of 17 mass media campaigns were identified, including three national, twelve state-wide and a couple of regional area campaigns. The review describes and critiques approaches to chronic disease prevention mass media campaigns on their implementation and their evaluation in Australia. It also includes a protocol for assessing future campaigns against best practice.

In terms of results, Australian campaigns were generally of a high standard, substantially complying with established “best practice principles” and achieving target population reach in the range 43% - 93%. However, most campaigns in recent years have primarily used paid mass media, and have not focused on all of the marketing elements of an integrated “social marketing campaign”, least of all legislation, regulation and policy development. Thus, although the campaign elements have generally followed good practice, this review found an uncoordinated approach with sometimes overlapping campaigns. RREC believe the report would be of interest to health policy-makers and practitioners as well as researchers and evaluators, and in collaboration with the TAPPC Communications Capacity will develop a policy brief from the review.

Grunseit A., Bellew B., Goldbaum E., Gale J., Bauman A. Mass media campaigns addressing physical activity, nutrition and obesity in Australia: an updated narrative review. Sydney; The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre. 2016.

Retirement could be an opportunity for healthy lifestyle change
Population aging is a demographic trend experienced by many societies. In Australia, 15% of the population is aged 65 years or over with 3.6 million people currently retired. Transitioning out of the workforce implies changes in time availability, stress, social networks and financial situation, all of which could lead to positive lifestyle changes. To date, few studies have examined the association between retirement and a broad range of lifestyle behaviours.

Around 25,000 Australian adults aged 45 and over from the 45 and Up study were followed for more than 3 years. During the follow-up period, 11% of the participants had retired and the rest stayed within the workforce. When comparing retirees with non-retirees we found that retirees were more likely to experience positive lifestyle changes, including increased physical activity, decreased sedentary time, healthier sleep patterns, and smoking cessation (among female retires only). The differences were significant even after adjusting for factors such as age, sex, urban/rural residence, marital status and education. Overall, our study suggests that retirement could be a window of opportunity for positive lifestyle change.

The study was published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine ( and has received global media attention the New York Times, the Huffington post, the ABC, BBC and others.

Online course reaches out to the far and isolated to build capacity
In February and March 2016 the online capacity building course ‘Global Obesity Prevention and Management’, was run by the PRC in collaboration with the Charles Perkins Centre and World Obesity Federation. The target audience comprised people working in government and non-government organisations, and others who would benefit from an introduction to obesity preventionin understanding why it is important for health.

The six-week course consisted of video lectures, expert moderated discussions, multiple-choice quizzes and readings. An equitable fee structure in place, ensured the course had a global reach attracting over 100 participants from 20 countries in the Pacific, the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The course was very well received, obtaining an overall score of 8.2 out of 10 with most participants recommending the course to others.

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Seminar - The President’s (Obama) Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition
On 11th March 2016 Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of the US President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition delivered a keynote address to invited seminar participants.  The event was hosted by the Charles Perkins Centre and was jointly auspiced by the NSW Premier’s Council for Active Living (PCAL) and National Heart Foundation (NSW Division), and coordinated by the PRC/Boden Institute. The event was opened by CPC Academic Director, Professor Stephen Simpson, followed by remarks from Professors Ian Caterson (Boden) and Adrian Bauman (PRC). In her keynote address, Ms Pfohl described the “Let’s Move” program, launched by First Lady, Michelle Obama, in 2010 as a comprehensive initiative dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation. The keynote address was followed by a lively Q&A session.

For information about “Lets Move” visit

For information about The President’s Council visit

Physical activity for public health: In pursuit of rigorous evaluation in the real world
Co-hosted by the PRC, the CPC, the Sax Institute and TAPPC, this seminar explored the need for and challenges of rigorous evaluation of real world situations. Dr David Ogilvie, from Cambridge University, was the keynote speaker; Prof Don Nutbeam (PRC and the Sax Institute), Elizabeth Flynn (Assistant Secretary, Preventive Health Policy, Australian Government Department of Health) and Prof William Trochim (Cornell University) joined as panellists.

Ogilvie presented examples of research on positive health behaviour effects from transport infrastructure projects, interventions which were designed without necessarily including health benefits as intended impacts. These were real-world solutions to common problems presenting both opportunities and obstacles for research. For example, the creation of a guided busway presented an opportunity to examine active transport behaviour before and after the busway was opened; construction delays meant that the follow-up study needed to be delayed by two years. The panel later discussed how real-world delays like this can conflict with study funding resource deadlines – a challenge to evaluating real-world situations!

Another problem facing researchers and public health enactors is how to apply the learning from studies like this more globally. Ogilvie believes one problem is that researchers may not be asking the best questions or using the best methods to gain insights which can be translated to more general solutions. Instead of merely asking if an intervention works, researchers may also need to ask ‘What is going on here?’, complementing epidemiological methods with qualitative and other approaches from the social sciences to elucidate understanding of the more fundamental processes of change that interventions may trigger. Ogilvie acknowledged that publishing such studies is currently challenging as the wider health research community may not yet appreciate their value.

Following Ogilvie’s presentation, the panellists each spoke for a few minutes. Nutbeam highlighted his experience in a health ministry as he attempted to make evidence-based policies and found there was almost no evidence to inform his policies (and what evidence existed was inconclusive). Flynn said policy makers welcomed evidence and added that sometimes a passionate pitch substitutes where no evidence exists. Trochim brought a bit of Darwinism to the discussion, proposing that ideas, like species, which have fitness for the environment will prevail. Time will tell if, as Trochim suggests, Ogilvie’s ideas gain traction.

PANORG develops work plan in dynamic style
The Physical Activity Nutrition and Obesity Research Group (PANORG) met recently at the Ministry of Health to develop its work plan for the upcoming year. Those who thought it would be a fairly passive process of sitting around the table deliberating strategies and setting priorities were very much mistaken. Under the enthusiastic and experienced guidance of Professor Bill Bellew and the MoH’s Megan Cobcroft, all participants were encouraged to stand and move to different areas of the room depending on their position of a particular strategy. Once positions were taken, each area was asked to defend their position which could then result in further flow between positions. The active nature of the exercise encouraged spirited discussions and debate as well as much laughter from people bumping into one another or confusing the situation when simply moving to go the bathroom. It was a fruitful meeting resulting in both a work plan about which everyone is enthused and, in bucking the trend of sedentary meetings, an opportunity to practice what we preach. 

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Christina Bjørk Petersen
Christina joined the PRC in January 2016 for a 2-month placement as a part of her postdoctoral research fellowship at the National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark. Christina has a background in public health and completed her PhD on physical activity epidemiology. Christina has been involved with two projects: writing a book chapter on the descriptive epidemiology on sedentary behaviour and examining trends in physical activity in Tonga using data from the two WHO STEPS surveys conducted in 2004 and in 2012.

Besides engaging in the scientific work at PRC, she also engaged in a full day of physical activity, awesome fun and beautiful sightseeing with her PRC colleagues when she completed the 50 km Coastrek.

Kim Blond
Having completed his master in Sports Science and Health at the University of Southern Denmark, Kim came to PRC for a one month internship to work on a book chapter on the prevalence of sedentary behaviour. Kim says that “both learning about sedentary behaviour as well as the overall experience of working in the research environment at the PRC have provided me with academic insight and an experience that I greatly value.” Besides working at the PRC, Kim spent his time in Sydney playing beach volleyball, exploring the nature in NSW and enjoying the city with his partner – all experiences he hopes to someday repeat.

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Thanh-Binh Nguyen-Duy
I had inexplicably escaped the “Meet & Greet” rite of passage until one of the editors found out! My deep interest in health and physical activity led me to study Physiology (and French Literature as well) at McGill University (Canada), followed by a Master in Exercise Physiology degree at Queen’s University (and learning lots of Chinese Martial Arts on the side!). I then embarked on the scenic route, traveling, working and volunteering overseas in various places including Vietnam, Hong Kong and Seychelles. Having always been fascinated with nutrition, I decided to undertake a Master in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Sydney. After working with Prof. Louise Baur at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, I became a casual research officer at the PRC in 2013... and converted to a PhD candidate in 2015. Under the wise guidance of Melody and Adrian, my research projects will be looking at emerging lifestyle risk factors and cardiovascular disease. In my spare time, I love anything that involves physical activity, the outdoors, a new challenge, or being creative in the kitchen! Life pre-children involved lots of running & rock climbing. Life post-children involves lots of incidental activity, yoga and taking part in obstacle runs!

Lewis Keane
Lewis joined the PRC in January 2016 as a Research Assistant in the field of sport-for-development. His research interests focus around evaluating
Australian Government funded sporting interventions in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa under the banner of the ‘Pacific Sports Partnerships’. Alongside this role, Lewis is the Program Manager for ‘Cricket Without Borders’, a Melbourne based organisation which undertakes development tours in the East Asia-Pacific promoting young female participation in cricket in the region. Before joining the PRC Lewis enjoyed short stints with the Australian Government in Indonesia and Philippine Department of Health in Manila. Most recently he worked as the Marketing and Communications Officer, and also with the Business and Development Advisor for Cricket Fiji based in Suva. Originally from Kangaroo Valley on the South Coast of NSW, Lewis completed a Bachelor of Economics, before moving into public health through the Master of International Public Health program here at the University of Sydney.
Farewell to Devon Indig
Devon joined the PRC in January 2014 as a Senior Research Fellow Evaluation Specialist as part of The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (TAPPC) Rapid Response Evaluation Capacity. Whilst with TAPPC and the PRC, she led a number of research projects including developing a new measure of partnership which was used by ACT Health to evaluate their whole-of-government Healthy Weight Initiative which will be described in a forthcoming journal article. Devon has also led a piece of academic work reviewing how chronic disease prevention programs are scaled up, identifying different trajectories such programs have taken as described in the peer review literature, also leading to a manuscript nearing completion. Formulating the evaluation components for the NSW Get Healthy at Work program in collaboration with the Office of Preventive Health and an evaluation framework for TAPPC itself were two projects drawing on her capacity to design and drive complex evaluations. Conducting a critical review of systematic reviews with James Kite (now published) is yet another achievement emerging out of Devon’s time in PRC. She leaves us to take on the world of private consultancy and with such a varied suite of accomplishments in a relatively short time we are certain she will be a success! Good luck, Devon!

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Peer reviewed publications
Alharbi, M., Bauman, A., Neubeck, L., Gallagher, R. Validation of Fitbit-Flex as a measure of free-living physical activity in a community-based phase III cardiac rehabilitation population. Eur J Prev Cardiol, 2016.  Available from:  Accessed March 2016 

Barnett, L.M., Lai, S. K., Veldman, S. L., Hardy, L. L., Cliff, D. P., Morgan, P. J., Zask, A., Lubans, D. R., Shultz, S. P., Ridgers, N. D., Rush, E., Brown, H. L., Okely, A. D. Correlates of Gross Motor Competence in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med, 2016.  Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Bennie, J.A., Pedisic, Z., van Uffelen, J. G., Gale, J., Banting, L. K., Vergeer, I., Stamatakis, E., Bauman, A. E., Biddle, S. J. The descriptive epidemiology of total physical activity, muscle-strengthening exercises and sedentary behaviour among Australian adults - results from the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. BMC Public Health, 2016. 16, 73 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Byles, J.E., Vo, Kha, Forder, P. M., Thomas, L., Banks, E., Rodgers, B., Bauman, A.  Gender, mental health, physical health and retirement: A prospective study of 21,608 Australians aged 55–69 years. Maturitas, 2016. 87, 40-48 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Cameron, C., Craig, C. L., Bauman, A., Tudor-Locke, C. CANPLAY study: Secular trends in steps/day amongst 5-19year-old Canadians between 2005 and 2014. Prev Med, 2016. 86, 28-33 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Chau, J.Y., Sukala, W., Fedel, K., Do, A., Engelen, L., Kingham, M., Sainsbury, A., Bauman, A. E. More standing and just as productive: Effects of a sit-stand desk intervention on call center workers' sitting, standing, and productivity at work in the Opt to Stand pilot study. Prev Med Rep, 2016. 3, 68-74 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Chen, J., Bauman, A., Allman-Farinelli, M. A Study to Determine the Most Popular Lifestyle Smartphone Applications and Willingness of the Public to Share Their Personal Data for Health Research. Telemed J E Health, 2016.  Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Cliff, D.P., Hesketh, K. D., Vella, S. A., Hinkley, T., Tsiros, M. D., Ridgers, N. D., Carver, A., Veitch, J., Parrish, A. M., Hardy, L. L., Plotnikoff, R. C., Okely, A. D., Salmon, J., Lubans, D. R. Objectively measured sedentary behaviour and health and development in children and adolescents: systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev, 2016. 17, 330-44 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Crane, M., Rissel, C., Greaves, S., Gebel, K. Correcting bias in self-rated quality of life: an application of anchoring vignettes and ordinal regression models to better understand QoL differences across commuting modes. Qual Life Res, 2016. 25, 257-66 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Cranney, L., Phongsavan, P., Kariuki, M., Stride, V., Scott, A., Hua, M., Bauman, A. Impact of an outdoor gym on park users' physical activity: A natural experiment. Health Place, 2016. 37, 26-34 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Dawson, G., Crane, M., Lyons, C., Burnham, A., Bowman, T., Travaglia, J. A qualitative investigation of factors influencing participation in bowel screening in New South Wales. Health Promot J Austr, 2016.  Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Ding, D., Grunseit, A. C., Chau, J. Y., Vo, K., Byles, J., Bauman, A. E. Retirement-A Transition to a Healthier Lifestyle?: Evidence From a Large Australian Study American journal of preventive medicine, 2016. Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Doran, C.M., Ling, R., Byrnes, J., Crane, M., Shakeshaft, A. P., Searles, A., Perez, D. Benefit Cost Analysis of Three Skin Cancer Public Education Mass-Media Campaigns Implemented in New South Wales, Australia. PLoS One, 2016. 11, e0147665 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Engelen, L., Dhillon, H. M., Chau, J. Y., Hespe, D., Bauman, A. E. Do active design buildings change health behaviour and workplace perceptions? Occup Med (Lond), 2016.  Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Kelly, B., Freeman, B., King, L., Chapman, K., Baur, L. A., Gill, T. Television advertising, not viewing, is associated with negative dietary patterns in children. Pediatr Obes, 2016. 11, 158-60 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Khan, A., Choudhury, N., Uddin, S., Hossain, L., Baur, L. A. Longitudinal trends in global obesity research and collaboration: a review using bibliometric metadata. Obes Rev, 2016. 17, 377-85 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Lowres, N., Redfern, J., Freedman, S. B., Orchard, J., Bennett, A. A., Briffa, T., Bauman, A., Neubeck, L. Choice of Health Options In prevention of Cardiovascular Events for people with Atrial Fibrillation (CHOICE-AF): A pilot study. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs, 2016. 15, 39-46 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Loyen, A., van der Ploeg, H. P., Bauman, A., Brug, J., Lakerveld, J. European Sitting Championship: Prevalence and Correlates of Self-Reported Sitting Time in the 28 European Union Member States. PLoS One, 2016. 11, e0149320 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Merom, D., Ding, D., Stamatakis, E. Dancing Participation and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: A Pooled Analysis of 11 Population-Based British Cohorts. Am J Prev Med, 2016.  Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Milat, A.J., Newson, R., King, L., Rissel, C., Wolfenden, L., Bauman, A., Redman, S., Giffin, M. A guide to scaling up population health interventions. Public Health Res Pract, 2016. 26,  Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Nguyen, B., Bauman, A., Gale, J., Banks, E., Kritharides, L., Ding, D. Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause mortality: evidence from a large Australian cohort study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act, 2016. 13, 9 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Partridge, S.R., Allman-Farinelli, M., McGeechan, K., Balestracci, K., Wong, A. T., Hebden, L., Harris, M. F., Bauman, A., Phongsavan, P. Process evaluation of TXT2BFiT: a multi-component mHealth randomised controlled trial to prevent weight gain in young adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act, 2016. 13, 7 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Petersen, C.B., Bauman, A., Tolstrup, J. S. Total sitting time and the risk of incident diabetes in Danish adults (the DANHES cohort) over 5 years: a prospective study. Br J Sports Med, 2016.  Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Riddiford-Harland, D.L., Steele, J. R., Cliff, D. P., Okely, A. D., Morgan, P. J., Baur, L. A. Does participation in a physical activity program impact upon the feet of overweight and obese children? J Sci Med Sport, 2016. 19, 51-5 Available from:  Accessed Jan

Sugden, C., Phongsavan, P., Gloede, S., Filiai, S., Tongamana, V. O. Developing antitobacco mass media campaign messages in a low-resource setting: experience from the Kingdom of Tonga. Tob Control, 2016.  Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Vita, P. and M. Cardona-Morrell, Bauman, A., Singh, M. F., Moore, M., Pennock, R., Snow, J., Williams, M., Jackson, L., Milat, A., Colagiuri, S. Type 2 diabetes prevention in the community: 12-Month outcomes from the Sydney Diabetes Prevention Program. Diabetes Res Clin Pract, 2016. 112, 13-9 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Xu, H., Wen, L. M., Hardy, L. L., Rissel, C. Associations of outdoor play and screen time with nocturnal sleep duration and pattern among young children. Acta Paediatr, 2016. 105, 297-303 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

Ye, Y.L., Wang, P. G., Qu, G. C., Yuan, S., Phongsavan, P., He, Q. Q. Associations between multiple health risk behaviors and mental health among Chinese college students. Psychol Health Med, 2016. 21, 377-85 Available from:  Accessed March 2016

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NSW Ministry of Health
PANORG and PHHSRS are funded by the NSW Ministry of Health

The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre
TAPPC is funded by the NHMRC, NSW Mnistry of Health, Australian Government and ACT Health
Editorial Group

Lina Engelen, Erika Bohn-Goldbaum, Joanne Gale, Sinead Boylan, Anne Grunseit, Lisa Avery

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