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1.  Australian Pregnant Women's Awareness of Gestational Weight Gain and Dietary Guidelines: Opportunity for Action 
Journal of Pregnancy  2016;2016:8162645.
Background. Excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) can negatively impact on maternal and foetal health. Guidelines based on Institute of Medicine (IOM) encourage managing GWG by following healthy eating recommendations and increasing physical activity. This study investigated pregnant women's knowledge of their optimal GWG and recommended dietary approaches for GWG management. Method. English-speaking pregnant women were recruited from five hospitals in New South Wales (Australia) and an online link. Prepregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported height and prepregnancy weight. Participants identified their recommended GWG. A survey assessed practical dietary knowledge and asked about broad dietary recommendations to prevent excessive GWG. Chi square and logistic regression analyses were used. Results. N = 326 pregnant women completed the surveys; 49% entered pregnancy overweight (25.2%) or obese (23.6%); and knowledge of recommended GWG was lacking. Prepregnancy BMI was a significant predictor of GWG recommendation knowledge (P < 0.000). Pregnant women were highly knowledgeable about broad dietary recommendations but had poor knowledge of detailed recommendations. Conclusions. Limited knowledge of IOM's GWG guidelines and of specific dietary recommendations for pregnancy should be addressed by health care providers and education initiatives to assist the high number of women who enter pregnancy overweight or obese.
PMCID: PMC4736585  PMID: 26881080
2.  Content Analysis of Food Advertising in Iranian Children's Television Programs 
Advertisements can influence children's health related behaviors. Television advertisements are the main avenues directing commercials at children in Iran. This study aimed to explore the content of food advertisement during children's television programs in 2007-8 and to compare it with those reported in 2000.
All advertisements broadcasted before, during, and after children's programs aired on two major Iran national television networks were videotaped for a period of 4 weeks during 2007-8. For each advertisement, type of product(s) and mode of presentation (s) were coded.
A total of 229 television advertisements were broadcasted. Food commercials were the most frequent group (31%) across the two channels. Among the food products advertised, calorie dense foods, including chocolate, soft drinks, extruded cereals, ice cream, cookies and candies were the most frequent. The appeal mainly used in television food advertisements was “stimulation of hunger/thirst” (38.5%). The advertisements were mostly presented as animations (54%) and the messages used were mainly directed to good taste.
Although the total number of food advertisements during children's television programs has decreased but the consumption of high fat, high sugar, low nutrient dense foods continues to be promoted. Policies to address the issue should be scrutinized.
PMCID: PMC4223955  PMID: 25400894
Advertisements; child; food; television
3.  Parent and child interactions with two contrasting anti-obesity advertising campaigns: a qualitative analysis 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:151.
Social marketing has been proposed as a framework that may be effectively used to encourage behaviour change relating to obesity. Social advertising (or mass media campaigning) is the most commonly used social marketing strategy to address the issue of obesity. While social advertising has the potential to effectively communicate information about obesity, some argue that the current framing and delivery of these campaigns are ineffective, and may cause more harm than good.
We used a qualitative advertising reception study. 150 family groups (comprised of 159 parents and 184 children) were shown two Australian government anti-obesity advertisements: Measure Up (focused on problems associated with obesity) and Swap It (focused on solutions for obesity). Families were engaged in a discussion about the visual appeals, verbal messages and their perceptions about the impact of the advertisements on behavioural change. Open coding techniques and a constant comparative method of analysis was used to interpret the data.
Many parents had strong personal resonance with the visual imagery within the campaigns. While Swap It had strong ‘likeability’ with children, many children believed that the messages about overweight and obesity were less personally relevant because they did not perceive themselves to be overweight. The content and delivery style of the verbal messages (the serious risk focused message in Measure Up compared to the upbeat, fun practical message in Swap It) influenced how different audiences (parents and children) interpreted the information that was presented. Parents assimilated practical and instructive messages, while children assimilated messages about weight loss and weight gain. Parents and children recognised that the campaigns were asking individuals to take personal responsibility for their weight status, and were at times critical that the campaigns did not tackle the broader issues associated with the causes and consequences of obesity. The lack of practical tools to encourage behavioural change was a key barrier for obese parents.
Well-funded, targeted social marketing campaigns will play an important role in the prevention and management of obesity. It is important that these campaigns are comprehensively evaluated and are backed up with structural supports to enable and encourage population subgroups to act upon messages.
PMCID: PMC3937060  PMID: 24517101
Mass media campaigns; Parents; Children; Obesity
4.  Different patterns of Australian adults' knowledge of foods and nutrients related to metabolic disease risk 
A nationwide survey of 2022 consumers was conducted in Australia in late 2011. A short list of questions about knowledge of the nutrient composition of common foods was administered along with questions about the respondents' food attitudes, demographics, school education and dieting practices. Overall, the results showed that nutrition knowledge was relatively high. Latent class analysis showed two groups of consumers with ‘high’ and ‘low’ knowledge of nutrition. Higher knowledge was positively associated with age, female sex, university education, experience of home economics or health education at school, having a chronic disease, and attitudes to food issues, and negatively with type 1 diabetes or the use of diabetes-control diets. The implications of the findings for nutrition communication are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4153087  PMID: 25191606
Nutrition knowledge; Attitudes toward food; Chronic diseases; Demographics; Latent class analysis; Surveys; Australia; LCA, latent class analysis
5.  Expanding Awareness of Docosahexaenoic Acid during Pregnancy 
Nutrients  2013;5(4):1098-1109.
Pregnant women do not currently meet the consensus recommendation for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (≥200 mg/day). Pregnant women in Australia are not receiving information on the importance of DHA during pregnancy. DHA pregnancy education materials were developed using current scientific literature, and tested for readability and design aesthetics. The study aimed to evaluate their usefulness, the desire for pregnant women to receive these materials and whether a larger separate study (using a control group) is warranted to evaluate the influence the materials may have on increasing DHA consumption in pregnant women in Australia. Pregnant women (N = 118) were recruited at antenatal clinics at two NSW hospitals. Participants completed a 16-item questionnaire and DHA educational materials (pamphlet and shopping card) were provided. Participants were contacted via phone two weeks later and completed the second questionnaire (25-item, N = 74). Statistics were conducted in SPSS and qualitative data were analysed to identify common themes. Ninety three percent of women found the materials useful, with the main reason being it expanded their knowledge of DHA food sources. Only 34% of women had received prior information on DHA, yet 68% said they would like to receive information. Due to the small sample size and lack of a control group, this small study cannot provide a cause and effect relationship between the materials and nutrition related behaviours or knowledge, however the results indicate a potential positive influence towards increased fish consumption and awareness of DHA containing foods. This suggests a larger study, with a control group is warranted to identify the impact such materials could have on Australian pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC3705337  PMID: 23549329
docosahexaenoic acid; omega-3; pregnancy; fish; education
6.  Poor Knowledge and Practices Related to Iodine Nutrition during Pregnancy and Lactation in Australian Women: Pre- and Post-Iodine Fortification  
Nutrients  2012;4(9):1317-1327.
A before-after review was undertaken to assess whether knowledge and practices related to iodine nutrition, supplementation and fortification has improved in Australian women since the introduction of mandatory iodine fortification in 2009. Surveys of pregnant (n = 139) and non-pregnant (n = 75) women in 2007–2008 are compared with surveys of pregnant (n = 147) and lactating women (n = 60) one to two years post-fortification in a regional area of New South Wales, Australia. A self-administered questionnaire was completed and dietary intake of iodine was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. A generally poor knowledge about the role and sources of iodine in the diet remained after fortification. Post-fortification, iodine-containing supplements were being taken by 60% (up from 20% pre-fortification) and 45% of pregnant and lactating women, respectively. Dairy foods were the highest contributors to dietary iodine intake (57%–62%). A low intake of fish and seafood resulted in this food group contributing only 3%–8% of total intake. A low level of public awareness regarding the role of iodine in health supports the need for public health strategies in addition to fortification, such as an accompanying consumer education campaign, increased uptake of supplementation, and on-going monitoring.
PMCID: PMC3475241  PMID: 23112919
iodine; supplementation; fortification; pregnancy; lactation
7.  Paving Pathways: shaping the Public Health workforce through tertiary education 
Public health educational pathways in Australia have traditionally been the province of Universities, with the Master of Public Health (MPH) recognised as the flagship professional entry program. Public health education also occurs within the fellowship training of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, but within Australia this remains confined to medical graduates. In recent years, however, we have seen a proliferation of undergraduate degrees as well as an increasing public health presence in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.
Following the 2007 Australian Federal election, the new Labour government brought with it a refreshing commitment to a more inclusive and strategic style of government. An important example of this was the 2020 visioning process that identified key issues of public health concern, including an acknowledgment that it was unacceptable to allocate less than 2% of the health budget towards disease prevention. This led to the recommendation for the establishment of a national preventive health agency (Australia: the healthiest country by 2020 National Preventative Health Strategy, Prepared by the Preventative Health Taskforce 2009).
The focus on disease prevention places a spotlight on the workforce that will be required to deliver the new investment in health prevention, and also on the role of public health education in developing and upskilling the workforce. It is therefore timely to reflect on trends, challenges and opportunities from a tertiary sector perspective. Is it more desirable to focus education efforts on selected lead issues such as the "obesity epidemic", climate change, Indigenous health and so on, or on the underlying theory and skills that build a flexible workforce capable of responding to a range of health challenges? Or should we aspire to both?
This paper presents some of the key discussion points from 2008 - 2009 of the Public Health Educational Pathways workshops and working group of the Australian Network of Public Health Institutions. We highlight some of the competing tensions in public health tertiary education, their impact on public health training programs, and the educational pathways that are needed to grow, shape and prepare the public health workforce for future challenges.
PMCID: PMC2818649  PMID: 20044939
8.  Conceptualising the policy practice and behavioural research relationship 
Policy is frequently identified in the behavioural nutrition and physical activity research literature as a necessary component of effective research and practice. The purpose of this commentary is to promote a dialogue to contribute towards the further development of conceptual understandings and theories of the relationship between policy practice and behavioural research and how these two activities might work synergistically to improve public health outcomes.
Drawing on policy and public health literature, this commentary presents a a conceptual model of the interaction and mediation between nutrition and physical activity-relevant policy and behavioural nutrition and physical activity research, environments, behaviours and public health implications. The selling of food in school canteens in several Australian states is discussed to illustrate components of the relationship and the interactions among its components.
The model depicts a relationship that is interdependent and cyclic. Policy contributes to the relationship through its role in shaping environmental and personal-cognitive determinants of behaviours and through these determinants it can induce behaviour change. Behavioural research describes behaviours, identifies determinants of behaviour change and therefore helps inform policy development and monitor and evaluate its impact.
The model has implications for guiding behavioural research and policy practice priorities to promote public health outcomes. In particular, we propose that policy practice and behavioural research activities can be strengthened by applying to each other the theories from the scientific disciplines informing these respective activities. Behavioural science theories can be applied to help understand policy-making and assist with disseminating research into policy and practice. In turn, policy science theories can be applied to support the 'institutionalisation' of commitments to ongoing behavioural research.
PMCID: PMC2324113  PMID: 18355414

Results 1-8 (8)