Obesity is a significant community health problem that requires an urgent and informed response. To successfully combat this epidemic, clinicians and health care systems require feasible, effective and evidence-based treatment options that can be provided to large numbers of people.

Our theme's work is focused on the development and testing of innovative weight loss education and obesity prevention programs that 'target' and are 'tailored' to different populations (e.g. men, women, fathers, mothers & children) in different settings (e.g. schools, communities & workplaces).

Current Research Programs

Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered

Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered

Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered is a world-first lifestyle program targeting fathers as the agents of change to improve their daughters’ physical activity levels, sport skills and social-emotional wellbeing.

In 2018, the NSW Government awarded $2.4 million to roll-out the DADEE program across NSW. Sport England also announced funding in 2018 to adapt and deliver in the UK, in collaboration with Women in Sport-UK, Fulham Football Club and the Fatherhood Institute-UK.

Fomerly known as DADEE (Dads and Daughters Exercising and Empowered), this program has won prestigious awards including the ASICS medal for Best paper overall at the Sports Medicine Australia Conference, 2018 and a National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) Play Your Part Award, 2017.
@DaughterDad_UoN  DaughtersandDadsActiveandEmpowered

Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids (HDHK)

Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids (HDHK)

Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids (HDHK) is a community-based, multi-award winning program which engages fathers in positive lifestyle role modelling and effective parenting strategies to improve the physical activity and dietary behaviours of both themselves and their children.

In 2014, HDHK won national awards for Best Community Engagement (Business/Higher Education Round Table) and Excellence in Obesity Prevention (WHO’s Collaboration on Obesity Prevention). HDHK has been adapted and delivered to communities in Birmingham, UK and Texas, USA (for Hispanic families) in collaboration with the University of Birmingham and Baylor College of Medicine respectively. In 2019, HDHK will be adapted for delivery in the Scottish Prison System in collaboration with the University of Stirling and Glasgow, UK.
@Healthy Dads Healthy Kids Healthy Dads Healthy Kids

Healthy Youngsters, Healthy Dads

Healthy Youngsters, Healthy Dads

Healthy Youngsters, Healthy Dads is a program targeting fathers and their preschool-aged children. HYHD provides families with evidence-based parenting strategies to improve family eating and physical activity and optimise child physical and mental wellbeing.
@HYHDprogram Healthy Youngsters Healthy Dads

Workplace POWER

Workplace POWER

Workplace POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit), is a multi-award winning, evidence-based program teaching men how to adopt a realistic and sustainable approach to weight
loss – without having to eat like a rabbit or give up beer.  Workplace POWER won a National Preventive Health Award from the Australian National Preventative Health Agency in 2013 and has since been delivered to workplaces across Australia including the QLD Police Service, Diabetes WA, Daracon
Civil Construction, Transgrid and Tomago Aluminium.



The low-cost SHED-ITTM program teaches men how to achieve long-term sustainable weight loss without having to give up the foods they love.  The program uses a range of resources (printed materials, video clip, food tracking App), without requiring any face-to-face contact.

The unique approach of SHED-IT has been commended by international researchers as “A momentous step toward addressing the long overlooked need to develop behavioural weight control programs that appeal predominantly to men and have wide reaching potential to impact obesity among the male half of our population”

Befort (2013). Bridging the gender gap in Behavioural Obesity Intervention: a Comment on Morgan et al. Annals of Behavioural Medicine, 45(2), 133-134.

The SHED-IT program will be available for sale through the University of Newcastle from March 2020.

Selected Publications

Article has an altmetric score of 33
Morgan PJ, Young MD, Smith JJ, Lubans DR, 'Targeted Health Behavior Interventions Promoting Physical Activity: A Conceptual Model', Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 44 71-80 (2016) [C1] DOI 10.1249/JES.0000000000000075
Invited paper from a leading international journal outlining a conceptual model for the design and delivery of targeted physical activity interventions.
Article has an altmetric score of 20
Young MD, Callister R, Collins CE, Plotnikoff RC, Aguiar EJ, Morgan PJ, 'Efficacy of a Gender-Tailored Intervention to Prevent Weight Regain in Men over 3 Years: A Weight Loss Maintenance RCT', OBESITY, 25 56-65 (2017) [C1]. DOI  10.1002/oby.21696
Reports clinically significant weight loss maintenance 3 years following a low cost intervention using on-line and printed resources, without any face-to-face contact.

Article has an altmetric score of 148

Morgan PJ, Young MD, Lloyd AB, Wang ML, Eather N, Miller A, et al., 'Involvement of Fathers in Pediatric Obesity Treatment and Prevention Trials: A Systematic Review', PEDIATRICS, 139 (2017) [C1] DOI 10.1542/peds.2016-2635
Systematic review of 213 RCTs and revealed the dearth of father involvment in paediatric obesity interventions.  Was featured in global news reports via Reuters International news agency.

Article has an altmetric score of 232

Morgan, P.J., Barnes, A.T., Young, M.D., Pollock, E.R., Eather, N. & Lubans, D.R. 'Engaging Fathers to Increase Physical Activity in Girls: The ‘Dads And Daughters Exercising and Empowered’ (DADEE) Randomized Controlled Trial’, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 53 39-52 (2019) https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kay015
Reports outcomes of the multi-award winning DADEE program. The first RCT in any field that has targeted the father-daughter relationship.
Article has an altmetric score of 14
Morgan PJ, Lubans DR, Callister R, Okely AD, Burrows TL, Fletcher R, Collins CE, 'The 'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids' randomized controlled trial: Efficacy of a healthy lifestyle program for overweight fathers and their children', International Journal of Obesity, 35 436-447 (2011) [C1] DOI 10.1038/ijo.2010.151
Reports positive outcomes from the world’s first lifestyle program targeting fathers and their children.

Article has an altmetric score of 10

Morgan PJ, Collins CE, Plotnikoff RC, Cook AT, Berthon B, Mitchell  S, Callister R, 'Efficacy of a workplace-based weight loss program for overweight male shift workers: The Workplace POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like a Rabbit) randomized controlled trial', Preventive Medicine, 52 317-325 (2011) [C1] DOI 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.01.031
Reports positive outcomes from a workplace based men’s weight loss program targeting shift workers.

Article has an altmetric score of 29

Young MD, Lubans DR, Barnes AT, Eather N, Pollock ER, Morgan PJ, 'Impact of a father-daughter physical activity program on girls' social-emotional well-being: A randomized controlled trial', Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87 294-307 (2019)  [C1] DOI 10.1037/ccp0000374
Reports social emotional outcomes for daughters participating in the DADEE RCT.

Article has an altmetric score of 24

Morgan PJ, Collins CE, Lubans DR, Callister R, Lloyd AB, Plotnikoff RC, et al.,  'Twelve-month outcomes of a father-child lifestyle intervention delivered by trained local facilitators in underserved communities: The Healthy Dads Healthy Kids dissemination trial', Translational Behavioral Medicine, 9 560-569 (2019)  [C1] DOI 10.1093/tbm/ibz031
Reports long term outcomes of the Healthy Dads Healthy Kids community trial.

Article has an altmetric score of 30

Young MD, Morgan PJ,  'Effect of a gender-Tailored ehealth weight loss program on the depressive symptoms of overweight and obese men: Pre-post study', Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20 1-7 (2018) [C1] DOI 10.2196/mental.8920
Reports impact of the SHED-IT weight loss program on Men’s symptoms of depression.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.