A NEW Australian research centre is pioneering research to support healthy lifestyle with women before and during pregnancy.
The Centre of Research Excellence in Health in Preconception and Pregnancy (CRE HiPP) today launched its website, which will become a hub for research news, knowledge transfer and collaboration in its specialised field.
Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) the CRE’s remit is to refine and implement health promotion, lifestyle improvement, and obesity prevention strategically targeting women preconception and during pregnancy, to improve the health of women and the next generation.
The CRE HiPP is led by Monash University’s Professor Helen Skouteris, a Monash Warwick Professor in Health and Social Care Improvement and Implementation Science, whose own personal experience through her pregnancies informed her professional drive in the field.
“We know that over half of Australian women gain excess weight well beyond the recommended guidelines during pregnancy – I was one of them,” Professor Skouteris said. “I gained 30 kilograms during my second pregnancy and have lived with excess weight for the past 21 years.
“Research shows maternal weight at conception is a key determinant of both maternal and childhood obesity. If we are to drive evidence into practice in order to reduce the prevalence of maternal obesity, a systems approach to health promotion is needed.
“We need to reach women where they live, work and play. This is what CRE HiPP is all about,” Professor Skouteris said.
“Our research is being conducted in partnership with organisations across Australia, to enable lifestyle health support for women in the workplace, community, and health services.”
Current studies include:
- Understanding how to best adapt and implement healthy lifestyle interventions into maternity hospital settings.
- Developing a suite of healthy lifestyle education modules for undergraduate midwifery students.
- The introduction of workplace portals at the University of Tasmania, Good Shepherd Australia and MacKillop Family Services to provide healthy lifestyle information, support and resources for employees prior to, during and after pregnancy.
- Working with colleagues in the Northern Territory to improve lifestyle preconception and pregnancy health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Prof Skouteris said she hoped the CRE HiPP website and social media channels would not only provide a hub for researchers, but a “one-stop-shop” for women and their support networks to gain a better understanding of how to improve and support women’s lifestyle health during these important life stages.
“I encourage women, their partners, families and support persons to visit our website, follow us on social media and stay tuned for updates. CRE HiPP is for all in our community.”Back