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Aldred Deakin Professor Anna Peeters, RE-FRESH Director
Hello everyone…

And welcome to the first eNews release from RE-FRESH in 2023: the fifth and final year of our NHMRC-funded Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health, known as RE-FRESH.

If you’ve been on board our journey over the past four years, you will have followed our work to transform retail food environments to improve diet and health at a population level, from our collaborative research team.

But did you know that our team has expanded to 60 researchers – from 25 when we began? We are very proud of our growing team and the high quality body of cross-disciplinary research we are producing to build the evidence, methods and tools needed to accelerate the uptake of proven healthy food retail initiatives. We also revere the strength we bring to our work through our solid partnerships with government and non-government organisations, community organisations and food retailers.

As we embark on the final year of this CRE, we are excited for what lies ahead: consolidating projects and looking at ‘what’s next’; developing best practice guidelines for undertaking healthy food retail research; investigation to improve the economic evaluation of health-promoting food retail interventions, and; new early-and-mid-career researcher-led projects we are launching with new partners.

2023 is set to be a great year! We look forward to working with all our research partners and sharing updates of this work with you all.

– Alfred Deakin Professor Anna Peeters
RE-FRESH Director



New FREE e-learning course now on offer

We are pleased to share that a free e-learning course on monitoring food industry compliance with regulation developed by members of our team is now available on the OpenWHO platform (World Health Organisation e-learning platform)

The self-paced five-module online course is titled: ‘Monitoring methodologies for diet-regulated regulatory interventions to support a healthy food environment”. The course takes about two hours to complete and was designed primarily for policy makers and program administrators in the South-East Asia region, but would also be useful for participants in low and middle-income countries elsewhere.

RE-FRESH members Dr Ali Jones  and Damian Maganja (PhD candidate) developed the course on behalf of  the World Health Organisation South-East Asia Regional Office (WHO SEARO).



Short course in healthy food retail starts in July: register your interest now

A reminder that RE-FRESH, in partnership with Monash University, will be offering the healthy food retail short course again this year, after highly successful years in 2021 and 2022.

This innovative one-of-a-kind short course will start on Thursday, July 27, 2023, and is updated anually. It has been designed  to meet the needs of health promotion practitioners and policy makers, nutritionists and those engaged engaged in improving food retail environments for population health benefit. The course will run for nine weeks (or 12 weeks with microcredential) .

We are really pleased to be able to offer this course again in 2023 – allowing our expert team to share their evidence base at a practical level that upskills those on the ground.

Register your interest now to receive course updates by sending an an email to our RE-FRESH HQ.



New study on energy drink sale ban to children

Have you heard about the research study investigating the  impact of a four-month energy drink sales ban to children in a small regional Western Australian town?

RE-FRESH researcher A/Prof. Adrian Cameron is a Chief Investigator on the ‘Amped Out: An Energy Drink Study’ which kicked off on February 1 in Bridgetown (population 3000), in inland southern WA.

The study is believed to be the first globally to trial and evaluate a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children.



A selection of new publications from our team:

1. From RE-FRESH’s Prof. Gary Sacks and co-author: Globalization and Health – “The influence of share buybacks on ill-health and health equity: an exploratory analysis using socio-ecological determinants of health lens”

2.  From RE-FRESH’s Dr Jill Whelan, Prof. Steven Allender, Prof. Colin Bell, Prof. Liliana Orellana, Dr Laura Alston and co-authors: Public Health Nutrition – “Understanding weight status and dietary intakes among Australian school children by remoteness: A cross-sectional study”.

3. From RE-FRESH’s Oliver Huse (PhD candidate), Sally Schultz (PhD candidate), Dr Tara Boelsen-Robinson, Dr Jaithri Ananthapavan, Alfred Deakin Prof. Anna Peeters, Prof. Gary Sacks and Dr Miranda Blake: Obesity Reviews – “The implementation and effectiveness of outlet-level healthy food and beverage accreditation schemes: A systematic review”.

4. From RE-FRESH’s Dr Meron Lewis, Prof. Amanda Lee and co-authors: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health – “Healthy food prices increased more than the prices of unhealthy options during the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent challenges to the food system”.



Global sustainability award success

RE-FRESH was excited to be honoured in the recent global Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Awards.

Dr Shaan Naughton, Jasmine Chan and Professor Gary Sacks from our team were co-authors on the paper Development of the University Food Environment Assessment (Uni-Food) Tool and Process to Benchmark the Healthiness, Equity, and Environmental Sustainability of University Food Environments which won the award for best ‘Published Journal Article Related to Planning & Administration’ in the Campus Sustainability Research Award category.



 Achievements abound! Well done team

The following members of our RE-FRESH team who have been awarded academic promotions:

  • Dr Miranda Blake: Senior Research Fellow
  • Gary Sacks: Professor
  • Kathryn Backholer: Professor

The following RE-FRESH researchers whose PhDs have been conferred:

  • Dr Meron Lewis (University of Queensland)
  • Dr Jaithri Ananthapavan (Deakin University)
RE-FRESH Chief Investigator Jaithri Ananthapavan who has been awarded an  Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship (Deakin University) to advance the economic evaluation of obesity prevention interventions to inform resource allocation decision-making.

Professor Anna Peeters (RE-FRESH Director and Director of Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation) whose recently bestowed Alfred Deakin Professor titled was conferred at a ceremony at Deakin’s Geelong Waterfront Campus on Tuesday, March 14.  READ MORE

Introducing two new team members

RE-FRESH is proud to support early career researchers and welcomes two new members to the team: Bettina Backman and Anne Barrow.

BETTINA moved to Australia from Finland in 2017 where she undertook  a Master of Health Promotion (Deakin University). After being introduced to RE-FRESH team member Dr Miranda Blake during these studies, she has now joined her project team as an Associate Research Fellow. She has also begun a PhD titled “Supporting community-based food retailers to sustain healthy food policy interventions in the long-term” (supervised by Dr Blake). She is based in Torquay, Victoria.

ANNE started with the RE-FRESH team this month, afer being introduced through her impending Honours project – a comparative case study on the factors affecting sustained healthy food retail change in health service settings. She is also working with Dr Miranda Blake, as well as Dr Tara Boelsen-Robinson, on a project which which aims to contribute to long-term sustainment of healthy food policies for Victorian settings, and more broadly across Australia. Anne is based in Adelaide, South Australia.



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