Telethon Kids researcher in line for Young Tall Poppy Science award for ECEC research
Associate Professor Hayley Christian is one of seven young scientists in line for the upcoming 2020 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards, being shortlisted for her work on promoting more active childhoods to improve child health and wellbeing.
Through her role at the Telethon Kids Institute, as head of the Child Physical Activity, Health & Development team, Associate Professor Christian has been working on improving children’s physical activity, health and development through interventions that are focused on the child, the family, and social and built environments.
“One in five Australian children aged two to four years of age are overweight or obese,” Dr Christian said.
“Physical activity is a critical strategy for combating rising childhood obesity. My multi-disciplinary team focuses on turning challenges into opportunities to make a positive difference to children’s health and wellbeing through promoting more active childhoods.”
A number of Associate Professor Christian’s recent findings have emerged from the Play Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity (PLAYCE) project, a three-year Healthway-funded study (2015–2018) which investigated early childhood education and care (ECEC), home, and neighbourhood influences on preschoolers’ physical activity.
The team’s ongoing research includes three NHMRC-funded projects to promote young children’s physical activity in ECEC services and playgroups, as well as an international project to understand the impact of the built environment on child health and obesity.
Telethon Kids Institute Director, Professor Jonathan Carapetis, said Dr Christian’s research program provided unique insights into key aspects of child health and development, with her findings widely sought-after nationally and internationally by policymakers and practitioners.
“Hayley’s pioneering research has already significantly influenced national policy and practice, including in relation to national movement guidelines for young children, and standards for promoting physical activity in early learning environments,” Professor Carapetis said.
“Her research findings have practical and highly relevant implications for the way children, families and communities behave and respond to their social and built environment, and she goes out of her way to actively consult with and communicate her findings to the community, as well as to policymakers, educators, and others who shape the world our children live in.”
The group of seven scientists will be formally recognised at the Young Tall Poppy Science Awards on 17 September, when one will be announced as the 2020 WA Young Tall Poppy of the Year.