The world’s most expensive university, the University of Sydney, has spent more than $40 million on an extensive research program to tackle one of the biggest health issues of our time: the rise in childhood obesity.
The university’s research project will be part of its Global Obesity Summit in London later this month, which is also being hosted by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The program will focus on the importance of childhood obesity to our health and the importance for the government of the university to support the research.
The first stage of the project will look at how children and adolescents are growing up and whether or not their body fat and metabolic rate (BMR) are changing, said university research professor Dr. Jari Kurkola, who heads up the research team.
The second stage of that research will focus more specifically on the impact that the increase in obesity and related factors has on mental health.
It is the second time that the university has undertaken a major research project on obesity, after funding for the Australian Center for the Study of Obesity was awarded to the university in 2017.
It has also previously undertaken research on obesity and the role of the brain in the development of obesity.
Professor Kurkolan said the university had started with a hypothesis to investigate how the impact of obesity and other lifestyle factors was impacting on brain development in young children.
It has since become clear that obesity can affect the brain.
So, this research is not just an academic project, it is a scientific endeavor and it is about learning about what we know about how the brain develops.
“The findings of the research will hopefully help us understand how to help the brain to be more resilient and more resilient to changes that occur in children,” she said.
Dr. Kahlil Kaur, a member of the Australian National Obesity Research Centre and a co-author of the study, said the research showed that childhood obesity is an important risk factor for mental health problems, particularly depression and anxiety.
“We know that the brains of children and young people are very different and that the way we manage obesity is the way that we manage mental health,” Dr. Kaur said.
“Children who are obese tend to be depressed, anxiety-prone, anxious, socially withdrawn and socially isolated, which are some of the traits associated with poor mental health outcomes.”
“We have found that children who are overweight are also more likely to be in poverty and more likely than their normal weight peers to be incarcerated.”
The university is also partnering with the Queensland Government to help it study the impact on mental wellbeing of childhood weight.
The research project is part of a larger initiative called the ‘Diet and Mental Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach’, which is looking at the role that nutrition plays in the health and well-being of people across the lifespan.
The research is being conducted in partnership with the University Health Network, Queensland University, the Queensland Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Health and Welfare Department and the Australian Institute of Family Studies.