12 Nov, 2014 Last updated: 18 Feb, 2015

A selection of the most recent research projects

Alcohol's burden of disease in Australia

The first study in a decade of the impact of drinking on Australians’ health shows significant increases in injury, disease and death due to alcohol.

The Alcohol’s burden of disease in Australia report was funded by VicHealth and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE). It found that alcohol causes 15 deaths and hospitalises 430 Australians every day.

The research, conducted by Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre, led by Dr Belinda Lloyd, found that the Northern Territory had the highest proportion of alcohol related deaths – at three times the national average. Nationally, nearly 9 per cent of hospitalisations for men and 5.3 per cent for women were linked to alcohol consumption.

There were clear distinctions between the drinking habits of men and women, with some 13 per cent of men consuming more than four standard drinks per day, compared with 3.3 per cent of women. The alcohol-related deaths and hospitalisations also varied between the sexes, with injuries – such as car accidents and falls – comprising a higher proportion (36 per cent) of alcohol-related deaths for men, while cardiovascular disease caused the alcohol-related deaths of more women (34 per cent).

Researcher profile

Dr Belinda Lloyd leads the Population Health Research Program at Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre. Dr Lloyd has a PhD in epidemiology, utilising large-scale longitudinal data. She is a regular presenter at national and international conferences on epidemiological research relating to alcohol and other drugs.

Alcohol’s burden of disease in Australia report

Inequities in alcohol and chronic diseases

A Turning Point study has revealed men and the middle aged are among those most likely to suffer from wholly alcohol-caused chronic diseases.

Funded by VicHealth, the Inequities in alcohol-related chronic disease in Victoria report found men accounted for seven out of ten wholly alcohol-attributable chronic disease (WACD) hospital patients and deaths in Victoria.

Chronic diseases can include cardiovascular, digestive and neurological conditions as well as a range of cancers.

People with WACD have a hospitalisation median age range from 47 to 49 years and a median age of death range from 58 to 62 years.

The research examined a range of factors that influence alcohol consumption and vulnerability to alcohol-related harms in Victoria, including age, gender, residential location and social disadvantage.

Inequities in alcohol-related chronic disease in Victoria report
 

The future of obesity in Australia

A report on obesity in Australia contains highlights from nine years of research by world-leading obesity expert Associate Professor Anna Peeters, while she was VicHealth’s Research Fellow from 2004 to 2013.

Key research findings:

  • By 2025, an estimated 83 per cent of men and 75 per cent of women will be obese or overweight, some 16.9 million Australians.
  • It is predicted that in 11 years, 44 per cent of people with the greatest disadvantage and least resources will be obese, compared to 31 per cent of those with the most resources.

Multiple strategies, policies and programs will be needed to turn the tide as Australia is now home to the world’s fastest increasing rate of obesity.

Negative growth: the future of obesity in Australia research highlights and recommendations
 

New VicHealth Research Innovation grants round, ARC Linkage grant round and future funding

VicHealth’s 2014 Research Innovation Grants round aims to provide an opportunity for research teams to trial an innovative idea, research a new concept or methodology, or develop better supporting evidence for health promotion in support of our Action Agenda. Previously offered in 2010 and 2012, a refreshed innovation grants round will open on Monday, 3 November 2014.

VicHealth’s most recent Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant round closed on 7 July 2014, with 38 expressions of interest to partner with VicHealth received.

We congratulate Dr Rebecca Bentley (The University of Melbourne) and colleagues on their success with the 2013 research project titled ‘The Association of Local and Regional Accessibility with Active Travel and Physical Activity: Health and Economic Impacts’ in which VicHealth will be an industry partner.

As an industry partner, VicHealth will also continue to support significant investigatorled research funding rounds including the National Health and Medical Research Centre (NHMRC) Partnership Grants and the ARC Linkage Grants.

Expressions of interest for NHMRC Partnership Grants will open in January 2015.