News and events

Must-read articles about prevention

Nearly 80 per cent of Australian children fall short on exercise

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 2019: The downward trend in physical movement has been exacerbated by a misperception among parents and educators that allocating time for students to be active at school will affect their academic performance.

Doctors push for a minimum price on alcohol in NSW

The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 2019: The Royal Australasian College of Physicians is calling on the Berejkilian government to introduce a minimum price on alcohol in a bid to reduce drinking related harm in NSW.

People living with chronic pain face high rates of stigma, survey finds

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 2019: A Chronic Pain Australia survey also found that many people living with chronic pain continued to face high levels of stigma, with more than 70 per cent saying they had felt judged.

How common causes of death among Australians have changed over the past 40 years

The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 2019: Australians are dying at their lowest rate on record, but data shows more people are dying of dementia and Alzheimer’s than ever before.

Sugar, alcohol and tobacco fuel oral health crisis

Griffith News, 19 July 2019: Failure of the global health community to prioritise the global burden of oral health has led to calls from Lancet Series authors for the radical reform of dental care, tightened regulation of the sugar industry, and greater transparency around conflict of interests in dental research.

Up to one in three kids have tooth decay, and sugar is to blame: experts

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 2019: Experts call for measures like a sugar tax to help in the fight against tooth decay but face opposition from both governments and the sugar industry.

New app a ‘game changer’ to gauge realistic drinking habits

ABC, 19 July 2019: A new app to gauge a person’s drinking habits is expected to give a more accurate picture of alcohol consumption than a consultation with a health professional.

More women suffering ‘deaths of despair’ but wealthiest are shielded, study shows

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 2019: Women are increasingly suffering “deaths of despair”, a new study shows, with only the wealthiest shielded from the rise in suicides, overdoses, and deaths from potentially preventable causes.

I gave up junk food for a month and dreamed about brownies and chips

The Guardian, 18 July 2019: A lesser-known cousin to Dry July, FebFast or Movember, Junk Free June is the idea that for a month you get sponsored not to eat junk food.

Should obesity be recognised as a disease?

British Medical Journal, 17 July 2019: Will categorising obesity as a disease encourage people to seek treatment – or would medicalisation be disempowering and reduce motivation?

The big health problem that’s slashing decades off Australian life expectancies, 17 July 2019: Australians with mental illness could experience a 20-year lower life expectancy than the rest of the population, a new report has warned.

People with mental illness experience poorer physical health, and the gap may be getting worse, experts say

ABC, 17 July 2019: The physical health challenges experienced by people with mental illness – including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease – are contributing to years of lost life, a new report finds.

Harnessing the power of informatics to improve aged care

Croakey, 17 July 2019: Harnessing the enormous power of informatics to create systems that use the data often already at hand, could make a difference in the individual lives of older Australians and their carers.

What will go in the shopping basket – fruit and veg or soft drink?

Croakey, 17 July 2019: Are the two nutritional ills of low fruit and vegetable consumption, and drinking sugar sweetened beverages, linked?

Anti-starvation trick that saved our ancestors may underlie obesity epidemic

Science Daily, 16 July 2019: A molecular “trick” that kept our ancient ancestors from starving may now be contributing to the obesity epidemic, a new study finds.

World hunger is still not going down after three years and obesity is still growing – UN report672 million obese adults worldwide

World Health Organization, 15 July 2019: An estimated 820 million people did not have enough to eat in 2018, up from 811 million in the previous year, which is the third year of increase in a row. This underscores the immense challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030, says a new edition of the annual The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report.

‘Second-hand drinking’ damage is more common than you may think

The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 2019: Being harassed, bothered, called names, or otherwise insulted is among a number of forms of second-hand drinking harm, the impact of which researchers are only just starting to capture.

Diabetes ‘epidemic’ causing avoidable and costly health risks, doctors warn

ABC, 14 July 2019: Medical professionals warn a ‘silent’ diabetes epidemic is overwhelming hospitals and causing preventable deaths because the disease is not taken seriously.

“Survive and thrive” and other key elements of global Indigenous concepts of wellbeing

Croakey, 14 July 2019: Indigenous concepts of wellbeing share common themes globally, and should inform initiatives such as the Wellbeing Budget of Aotearoa/New Zealand, delegates at the recent International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference were told.

Berejiklian sticks to drug abstinence stance when asked about over-policing at festivals

The Guardian, 14 July 2019: NSW premier sidesteps questions about a link between excessive police presence and young people swallowing multiple pills.

Feeling healthy? Cutting calories could lead to more benefits

The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 July 2019: Even if you consider yourself healthy, you could still dramatically benefit from mild reductions in your calorie intake, a new study suggests.

‘A powerful message’: Should alcohol products be branded with warnings about the cancer risk?

ABC, 12 July 2019: Most Australians are aware of the cancer risk associated with smoking, unprotected sun exposure and asbestos — but what about drinking alcohol?

Belly fat: gut bacteria checks could lead to personalised diets

The Conversation, 12 July 2019: Gut microbiota are better predictors of belly fat than diet.

Why so many of us don’t lose weight when we exercise

The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 July 2019: A study carefully tracked how much people ate and moved after starting to exercise, found that many of them failed to lose or even gained weight while exercising, because they also reflexively changed their lives in other, subtle ways.

I know from painful experience how poisonous the debate around obesity is

The Guardian, 11 July 2019: Yes, we must tackle obesity: but let’s do it without the kind of heartless reporting and hurtful language that held me back.

One cup of soft drink a day linked to 18 per cent increased cancer risk: study

The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July 2019: People who regularly drink sugary beverages may have an increased the risk of cancer, new research suggests.

National failure on alcohol policy: contributing to emergency department overload

Croakey,11 July 2019: Public health advocates advise that the National Alcohol Strategy is locked in a stalemate, with some jurisdictions involved in the Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum refusing to endorse the latest iteration of the document.

Pharma giant using loophole to falsely promote opioid pain relief product across Australia

ABC, 10 July 2019: A pharmaceutical giant owned by the Sackler family in the United States is using flaws in regulation to push its latest product deep into regional Australia.

For green cities to become mainstream, we need to learn from local success stories and scale up

Croakey, 10 July 2019: The movement to green cities has many potential health benefits but requires wider institutional support within local governments and metropolitan water and planning agencies.

The dollar value of a life in Australia: How economists are failing the public on health

The New Daily, 9 July 2019: Just how healthy is Australia’s preventative health system, and are our governments spending enough to adequately protect against future disease outbreaks?

Look up north. Here’s how Aussie kids can move more at school, Nordic style

The Conversation, 9 July 2019: Finnish children and their other Nordic counterparts outperform most other highly developed nations when it comes to children’s physical activity levels and obesity rates. So what can Australia’s school system learn from the Nordic approach to physical education?

‘Only acceptable goal’: grants to boost healthy ageing for Indigenous

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 July 2019: The federal government has committed funding towards six medical research projects focused on improving the health profile of ageing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Testing festival goers’ pills isn’t the only way to reduce overdoses. Here’s what else works

The Conversation, 8 July 2019: We know that prohibition doesn’t work to reduce either harms or drug use. But what does?

The health impacts of climate change and why calls for action are growing louder

ABC, 6 July 2019: We tend to think about climate change as an environmental problem. But it’s the impending impacts on our health that have medical experts sounding the alarm.

Just how healthy are Aussie pre-teens?

ABC, 5 July 2019 (audio): The results are in for the largest ever study into the health of Australian tweens and their parents.

Smoking at record low in Australia, but the grim harvest of preventable heart disease continues

The Conversation, 4 July 2019: A recent publication of the largest and most comprehensive study of smoking and cardiovascular disease in Australia is a reminder we can’t be complacent.

Hanging in the Balance: Reports Aim to Propel Obesity Care Forward

Medscape, 4 July 2019: Two brief “cutting edge reports” in the July issue of Obesity propose training competencies for medical students and care standards for practitioners for treating patients with obesity, which one expert hopes will help drive the field forward.

‘Nowhere to hide’: World-first study exposes untold risk of smoking

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 July 2019: Smoking is killing 17 Australians a day from stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular conditions, wiping out almost double the population of Port Douglas every year, warn the researchers of a world-first study.

World Health Organisation’s recommendations on saturated fat are out of date, expert team says

ABC, 3 July 2019: A global team of researchers has taken aim at World Health Organisation draft guidelines that recommend people reduce their saturated fat intake, saying advice should be framed around foods, not nutrients.

Obesity overtakes smoking as the leading cause of four major cancers

The Telegraph (UK), 3 July 2019: Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of major cancers, according to new research revealing the “devastating” impact of Britain’s weight problem.

Had gestational diabetes? Here are 5 things to help lower your future risk of type 2 diabetes

The Conversation, 2 July 2019: Taking steps such as adopting a healthier diet and being more active will lower your risk, while improving health and well-being for you and your family.

The growing burden of chronic disease

ABC, 1 July 2019 (video): The ABC’s 7.30 Report takes an in-depth look at how Australia’s health system is struggling to cope with the burden of chronic disease.

Climate Change Is a Public Health Emergency, Medical Groups Warn

Medscape, 1 July 2019: A total of 74 medical and public health groups issued a call to action against climate change last week, describing it as a public health emergency that threatens the health, safety, and well-being of millions of Americans. Climate change was also described as a major health opportunity to “deliver immediate and sustained health benefits to all.”

‘Nowhere to hide’: World-first study exposes untold risk of smoking

SMH, 3 July 2019: Tobacco smokers have triple the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) – the biggest killer in Australia – compared to people who never smoked, according to the study of almost 190,000 Australians aged 45 and over.

Nearly 50 per cent of Australians now have a chronic disease — many of them preventable

ABC, 1 July 2019: Ben Harris, a health policy expert at Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute, crunched the numbers from the latest National Health Survey and discovered that 11.4 million Australians, almost 50 per cent, now have a chronic disease.

Obesity, politics, money and a company called Novo Nordisk

Crikey, 1 July 2019: Novo Nordisk want to change the way Australians think about obesity. And if they’re successful, they could make a killing.

‘Have you been feeling your spirit was sad?’ Culture is key when assessing Indigenous Australians’ mental health

The Conversation, 1 July 2019: Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians take a holistic view of health, which may differ from non-Indigenous Australians, who often take a more individualistic approach. In terms of mental health, social and emotional well-being is central to the “spirit” of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Exercise may increase lifespan ‘regardless of past activity levels’

Medical News Today, 29 June 2019: New research suggests that it is never too late to start exercising, as becoming more active may lengthen lifespan “regardless of past activity levels.”

You are what you eat – why the future of nutrition is personal

The Conversation, 27 June 2019: A new study from the University of Minnesota shows that foods that have comparable nutritional profiles can have very different effects on the microbiome.

Push to decriminalise ice use as bar backs public health approach

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 June 2019: The personal use and possession of ice and other illicit drugs would be decriminalised in NSW under a public health-driven plan backed by the Bar Association and other top lawyers.

Food insecurity leading to type 2 diabetes

Medical Xpress, 26 June 2019: A collaborative study by a team of Connecticut researchers shows there is a strong connection between food insecurity and insulin resistance, the underlying problem in type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance occurs when cells are not able to respond normally to the hormone insulin.

Dry July organisers urged to dump partnership deal with liquor chain BWS

The Guardian, 26 June 2019: Public health experts criticise cancer charity’s ‘ill-conceived’ arrangement with alcohol retailer.

Dry July partnership with alcohol chain BWS under fire from health experts

ABC, 26 June 2019: A partnership between the yearly cancer fundraiser and Australia’s largest alcohol retailer has drawn the ire of leading public health experts.

As health gaps widen in Australia, where are the lessons from #Prevention2019?

Croakey, 25 June 2019: The recent AIHW burden of disease study presents a timely challenge to the health sector to engage much more actively in addressing the wider structural determinants of social and economic inequality.

San Francisco becomes first US city to ban e-cigarettes

BBC, 25 June 2019: San Francisco has become the first US city to ban sales of e-cigarettes until their health effects are clearer.

Trauma of Australia’s Indigenous ‘Stolen Generations’ is still affecting children today

Nature, 25 June 2019: An AIHW report shows that children living with adults who were forcibly separated from their families are more likely to face a host of challenges.

Health Star Rating system shake-up proposes penalising cereals that contain added sugars

ABC, 25 June 2019: Sugary cereals like Nutri-Grain and Milo would be the biggest losers in a shake-up to the Federal Government’s Health Star Rating system, proposed by CHOICE.

For women’s sake, let’s screen for depression as part of the new heart health checks

The Conversation, 24 June 2019: One thing that might reduce rates of heart disease even further is to make sure women, in particular, are asked about their current mental health. This can be a pointer to a hidden risk of developing heart disease in the future.

Could sport be the answer to stamping out teenage drug and alcohol abuse?

6PR, 24 June 2019: A youth program in Iceland, which saw every child given a voucher to cover the cost of joining a sporting or activity club, has almost wiped out the country’s teenage drug and alcohol problems.

Alcohol causes most overall harm of any drug, says study

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 June 2019: Alcohol causes the most overall harm to the Australian community, surpassing crystal methamphetamine (ice) and heroin, a new national study suggests.

Tobacco sales could be banned to Tasmanians under 21

The Canberra Times, 21 June 2019: Tasmania could be the first state in Australia to ban the sale of cigarettes to people aged under 21.

Obesity has become the new normal but it’s still a health risk

The Conversation, 21 June 2019: The Nike mannequin controversy is a morality tale of how we navigate between the devil of normalising obesity and the deep blue sea of excluding obese people from the world of exercise.

Here’s how to make our cities breastfeeding-friendly

The Conversation, 20 June 2019: Our study reveals that the deterrents to breastfeeding can be diminished by “hardwiring” our towns and cities so mothers are more likely to feel confident that breastfeeding is a supported, realistic and pleasant option for them.

Coming to terms with the hidden costs of co-production

LSE Impact Blog, 19 June 2019: In this post Kathryn Oliver, Anita Kothari, and Nicholas Mays assess the hidden costs of co-production and suggest that before researchers and research organisation engage with co-production, they should carefully consider what research strategy is most appropriate for their research aims.

How researchers and policymakers can work better together

The Mandarin, 19 June 2019: Q&A with the Sax Institute’s Anna Williamson on her work on the barriers and facilitators to evidence-informed policy.

Queensland lockout laws led to rise in ‘pre-loading’

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 June 2019: Queensland laws meant to curb alcohol-fuelled violence have directly led to a rise in people “pre-loading” on alcohol before they go out to party precincts, new research has found.

Plus-size mannequin criticism ignores fact healthy bodies come in all shapes, experts say

ABC, 19 June 2019: Nike has placed a new mannequin inside its London store that has sparked outrage and debate on social media and the internet.

Expert calls for government regulation of weight loss programs

The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 June 2019: Dr Nicholas Fuller, director of the clinical obesity program at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, is calling for greater regulation of weight loss programs, warning that the “anecdata” used to market such plans is seeing Australians diet themselves larger.

Even light physical activity may help your heart

Harvard Medical School, 17 June 2019: Mounting evidence suggests that all movement — even low-effort activity — counts for preventing cardiovascular disease as people age.

Aussies indulging more in illicit drugs than alcohol or cigarettes

9News, 17 June 2019: Australians are indulging more in illicit drugs on average than drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, a new report has claimed.

Southeast Asia tobacco control alliance praises Indonesia’s ad ban

The Jakarta Post, 17 June 2019: The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) has applauded Indonesia for its move to block online cigarette advertising, as an attempt to protect young people from being exposed to tobacco, and urged other countries to follow suit.