ACAORN's history

The Australasian Child and Adolescent Obesity Research Network (ACAORN) was established in November 2002 with a grant from the NSW Department of Health in response to the challenges posed by the current epidemic of child and adolescent obesity. The goal of ACAORN is to bring together the Australasian paediatric and adolescent obesity research community to collaborate on a co-ordinated and appropriately funded range of research activities.

ACAORN has around 70 members from many different research groups, representing Australia’s leading paediatric and adolescent obesity researchers. All are committed to the goal of performing research to develop effective prevention and treatment programs, to improve outcomes and to reduce the prevalence of child and adolescent overweight and obesity. The initial funding from the NSW Department of Health has enabled these researchers to meet face-to-face to discuss the strengths and weaknesses in paediatric obesity research and to devise new strategies and solutions to address these issues.

Since it was established, ACAORN has made significant progress towards its goals. The ACAORN meetings have enabled members to:

  • determine the most pressing research issues;
  • set up Special Interest Streams to address these issues; and
  • plan and commence research into these areas.

ACAORN understands there is an awareness of the need for prompt action as the prevalence of child and adolescent obesity continues to increase. Now that ACAORN is has been successfully established, it can provide a forum for planning, implementation and critical evaluation of research in this area.

ACAORN currently has 5 active child and adolescent obesity streams each being guided by a co-leader. The co-leaders manage stream activities by working with members to meet the networks goal and objectives.

Past child and adolescent obesity stream co-leaders:

  • Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour - Tony Okely, Louise Hardy, Jim Dollman
  • Food & Nutrition - Michael Dibley, Karen Campbell, Clare Collins, Anthea Magarey
  • Management - Kate Steinbeck, Louise Baur
  • Prevention - Boyd Swinburn, Elizabeth Waters, Kerry O’Brien, Colin Bell, Elizabeth Denney-Wilson, Karen Campbell, Rachel Jones
  • Outcomes & Complications - Sue Byrne, Melissa Wake, Michael Dibley