New research grant to discover the links between childhood diet, tooth decay and obesity
A prestigious postgraduate scholarship will fund a Western Sydney University doctoral study, investigating the link between childhood diet, tooth decay and obesity.
Dr Narendar Manohar, a PhD Candidate from the School of Science and Health, has been awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postgraduate Scholarship to conduct the important study – which aims to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged Australian families.
Dr Manohar says existing evidence clearly indicates that children from low socio-economic backgrounds are most vulnerable to poor dietary behaviours and chronic diseases.
"Feeding behaviours in the first years of a child's life set the stage for their nutritional preferences in later life. These behaviours not only impact a child's overall physical health, but also have a holistic effect on a child's socialisation, schooling, and overall growth and development," says Dr Manohar.
Dr Manohar says the study will investigate the links between any dietary changes in preschool children from low socio-economic backgrounds, and the instances of obesity and dental decay. The findings could have significant effects on Australian health policies, and will inform government on oral health promotion and obesity prevention strategies.
"The scholarship will assist in addressing some of the knowledge gaps of how dietary behaviours transform with age and what impacts they have on obesity and the dental decay status of children," says Dr Manohar.
The NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarships scheme aims to support outstanding health and medical graduates early in their career, so they can be trained to conduct research that is internationally competitive and develop a capacity for original independent research within Australia.
"I'm hoping the study will determine whether the feeding practices of infants throughout their early development complies with existing Australian Dietary guidelines."
To ensure an in-depth investigation, feeding patterns will be monitored including sugar and non-sugar based diet routines to correlate these factors to obesity and dental decay.
For his research project, Dr Manohar will work with his PhD supervisors, Dr Amit Arora, Professor Gregory Kolt and Professor Andrew Hayen. He will also be collaborating with institutions such as Westmead Children's hospital, INGHAM Institute, Sydney Dental Hospital, Sydney Local Health District, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Western Sydney University, University of Sydney, The University of Adelaide, Curtin University of Technology, UNSW Australia, Australian Dental Research Foundation and the Oral Health Foundation.
14 June 2017
Jessica Cortis, Media Assistant
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