An innovative Newcastle program that has made major inroads into helping men improve their health and the health of their children has taken out a top national award.
University of Newcastle researcher Associate Professor Philip Morgan has won the Asics Medal for Best Paper Overall at the 2009 Sports Medicine Australia Be Active 09 conference in Brisbane ahead of more than 500 other research presentations. He also won the award for best paper in health promotion.
The presentation detailed the results of his 'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids' program. The groundbreaking program aims to help overweight and obese fathers achieve a healthy weight and influence healthy eating and exercise habits in their children.
The program was developed after preliminary work by Associate Professor Morgan with overweight men found that children are influenced by the behaviours of their fathers when it comes to eating and exercise. Data also shows that fathers of primary school aged children record the highest levels of obesity.
'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids' focused on the importance of fathers spending quality time with their children through fun physical activities, and preparing and eating healthy food. On average, fathers who participated lost 8kg and reduced their waist circumference by 8cm, and the program improved cardiovascular health in overweight fathers.
'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids' was funded by the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) and the University of Newcastle. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.
The Be Active '09 Conference was held in Brisbane from October 14-17. It was a concurrent event made up of the 2009 Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, the Sixth National Sports Injury Prevention Conference and the Seventh National Physical Activity Conference.
Judged by internationally renowned leaders in the sports medicine field, Associate Professor Morgan was awarded the top prize after re-presenting his research in the Best of Best session on the final day of the conference.
Associate Professor Morgan is a lecturer and researcher in the Faculty of Education and Arts.