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Does disadvantage and stressful childhood experiences lead to weight gain?

Researchers at Curtin University are looking at how stressful childhood experiences may increase the risk of gaining weight later in life. This study will be the first in Australia to increase our understanding of how difficult and stressful experiences in disadvantaged communities during childhood can affect weight gain for teenagers and young adults.

graphic of a set of white weight scales on a large blue circle

About the project/vacancy

Many Australian's struggle with weight gain during adulthood and find it difficult to lose weight as they get older. Gaining weight as an adult is associated with health problems and increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. New research shows living in a disadvantaged community and going through difficult and stressful experiences during childhood may increase the risk of gaining weight as a teenager and young adult. It's therefore important that we understand what difficult and stressful experiences during childhood may lead to weight gain in teenagers and young adults, so we can try to prevent weight gain in adults.

The aim of the study is to improve understanding of the experiences and circumstances many children experience which could determine whether they gain weight as an adult. The research team requires the assistance of two young adults and two parents who have an experience of living in a disadvantage community and who have struggled to lose weight during their lifetimes.

About the position

The research team at Curtin University requires the assistance of:

  • Two young adults aged between 18 to 25 years who live in disadvantaged communities in the Perth metropolitan area and have a lived experience of struggling with weight gain and eating a health diet
  • Two parents with children aged between 10 to 12 years who currently live in a disadvantaged community, and believe their child may be experiencing stressful events in life that may be affecting their weight and eating behaviours

What am I expected to do?

The project is in its initial design phase. The researchers require a complete understanding of a 'lived experience' to inform the study design. You will need to provide a lived experience perspective of:

  • Living in a disadvantaged community as a child
  • Challenges of eating healthy and trying to lose weight
  • What may be needed as support during childhood

What skills or experience do I need?

You must be:

  • Either a young adult (aged between 18 to 25 years)
  • Or a parent (or carer) of a child aged between 10 to 12 years
  • Have lived in or are currently living in a disadvantaged community
  • Lived experience of (or has a child who is) struggling with weight gain and eating a health diet

How long am I expected to be involved?

The project will run until December 2024, with your involvement required throughout the project

Where will meetings be held?

Meetings will be held on a regular basis using Zoom, WebEx, Skype or other online meeting tool

What support is offered?

Honorariums will be offered in line with the WA Department of Health and the Health Consumer's Council Guidelines. Training is available through the Consumer and Community Health Research Network

Applications close: 12 June 2020

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