View all stories

31 January 2018

Multi-million dollar research centre established to support childhood nutrition

The Children’s Hospital Foundation in association with Woolworths announced the establishment of the Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research, a new $5 million research centre aimed at better understanding key issues in childhood nutrition and how to tackle them. 

Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Rosie Simpson said research programs undertaken by the Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research would be focused on delivering measurable outcomes that translate research into action to benefit families in Australia and around the world.

“Through the Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research, we will be focused on making a real impact on childhood nutrition,” Ms Simpson said. “This isn’t about delivering research outcomes that go nowhere, but on translating the outcomes into practice.”

The Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research has been established as part of Woolworths focus on health and a long-term commitment to the Children’s Hospital Foundation – a 31-year partnership, that has raised more than $51 million via in-store fundraising to date.

The Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research will award numerous project grants over five years to explore themes including:

  • Preventing and managing food allergies
  • Dietary requirements to maximise health outcomes at specific ages
  • The role of diet on gut health and microbiome, and how this affects children’s health
  • The impact of diet on brain development and mental health
  • Childhood eating behaviours and habits
  • Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption with measurable outcomes and impact
  • Infant feeding

Senior Research Fellow at James Cook University, Dr Severine Navarro will become the first researcher funded by the Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research, furthering her revolutionary research into the link between parasites, their effect on our gut microbiome and food allergy prevention.

“It has long been recognised that nutrition plays a critical role in overall health but with many unknowns and low adherence rates to Government nutritional guidelines, we want our independent research to be the driving force behind real social change,” Dr Navarro said. 

“Through the Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research, we can build on existing knowledge to accelerate progress in childhood nutrition research, help parents better understand the nutritional needs of their children and improve the health of all children now and in the long term. Ultimately, we are looking at ways to prevent damaging allergies and infections such as IBS and Coeliac Disease from developing rather than simply treating them once they have manifested.” Dr Navarro said. 

Matthew Franich, Woolworths QLD State Manager said; “Woolworths' commitment to the Children’s Hospital Foundation (CHF) spans more than 30 years, and in that time the money raised by our teams and customers has provided much-needed equipment and services for the kids who really need our help.

“Now with the launch of the Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition, we are able to help support research which will benefit not only the Queensland community, but the nation and beyond. We look forward to seeing the great work of the team and the outcomes of their research and the impact it will have on families and childhood nutrition.”

Children’s Hospital Foundation has opened a new research grant round and commenced a global search for a world-renowned research Chair to oversee the Centre, with the recruitment to be overseen by the CHF Research Advisory Committee.