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National Nutrition Surveillance Centre

Ionad Náisiúnta um Fhaireachas ar Chothú

HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research

 

Banner for HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research

 

The overall aim of the Centre is to contribute to the evidence base for public policy, health promotion and clinical practice on the prevention and management of obesity, diabetes and related metabolic disorders.  The Centre was established in 2008, with funding from the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (DAFF) in Ireland.  The work of the Centre is coordinated by the Principal Investigator, Professor Ivan Perry, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork. The Centre involves co-Principal Investigators from University College Cork, University College Dublin, the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, Teagasc, and University of Ulster. We are actively engaged in collaborative research activities relating to health and diet, in particular the prevention and management of obesity and diabetes.

 

Members involved

  • Prof Ivan Perry, Dept Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork (UCC)
  • Prof Kevin Balanda, Insitute of Public Health in Ireland, Dublin
  • Prof Cecily Kelleher, National Nutrition Surveillance Centre, School Public Health and Population Science, UCD
  • UCD Prof Fionnula McAuliffe, Consultant Obstetrician, National Maternity Hospital, Holles St, Dublin 2
  • Prof Kevin Cashman, Dept Food and Nutritional Sciences, UCC 
  • Dr Catherine Phillips, National Nutrition Surveillance Centre, School Public Health and Population Science, UCD
  • Prof Albert Flynn, Dept Food and Nutritional Sciences, UCC
  • Prof Mike Gibney, Institute of Food and Health, UCD 
  • Dr Mary McCarthy, Dept Food Business and Development, UCC
  • Dr Donal O’ Shea, Consultant Endocrinologist, School of Medicine and Medical Science, St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin 4 & St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, Co Dublin
  • Prof Patrick Wall, National Nutrition Surveillance Centre, School Public Health and Population Science, UCD

 
Key Objectives

The National Research Centre for Diet, Obesity and Diabetes will produce internationally competitive research that will provide the evidence base for public policy, health promotion and clinical practice on the prevention and management of obesity and diabetes and related metabolic disorders. These will be addressed in 5 discrete but interlinked research clusters.

 

Research Clusters: 

Cluster 1: Population Health Modelling (Professor Kevin Balanda, Institute of Public Health in Ireland, Professor Ivan Perry, UCC) – the primary objectivesf or this research cluster are to provide a critical research base for the establishment of an Obesity Observatory for Ireland. Drawing on the existing Irish public health nutrition infrastructure and data resources and on new data and outputs from the Centre, we are also working on statistical ‘Population Prevalence Models’ for diabetes and other nutrition related chronic conditions and on a National Burden of Disease (NBD) study in Ireland, focused on obesity and nutrition related risk factors.

Cluster 2: Diet, obesity and health in pregnancy and childhood (Professor Cecily Kelleher, UCD, and Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe, UCD and National Maternity Hospital)– the focus of work in this cluster is on the effects of maternal diet during pregnancy on foetal growth and risk of obesity in childhood. The work programme includes a series of analyses of the data from an existing inter-generational antenatal cohort study (Lifeways Cohort Study); and a large randomised controlled trial of the impact of a low glycaemic diet intervention on the prevention of recurrence of macrosomia in pregnancy.

Cluster 3: Diet, obesity and health in adults (Professor Ivan Perry & Dr Catherine Philips, UCC) – this research programme is focused on the estimation of the effects of specific dietary exposures and dietary patterns on prevalence, incidence and population trends in obesity, the metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes and major CVD endpoints in linked cross-sectional and longitudinal studies involving representative samples of middle-aged men and women.

Cluster 4: Management of Morbid Obesity (Dr Donal O’Shea, UCD) – we have established a national obesity cohort based on a database of the severely obese adult and paediatric patients referred to all specialist hospital centres for obesity in Ireland. This database is providing a platform for quality assurance in the management of morbid obesity in the Republic of Ireland and it supports recruitment of patients into randomised clinical trials.

Cluster 5: Consumer cognitive response to food (Dr Mary McCarthy, UCC, and Professor Patrick Wall, UCD) – the focus of this research programme is on consumer cognitive response to food, including the socio-demographic, psychological, physiological and health status factors that drive consumer food choice.

Researchers in each cluster will have access to the Centre’s core infrastructure, including administrative, project and data management, bio-statistical and public relations support

 

Wider contribution

Working at a national and strategic level, the Centre will harness, coordinate and promote the activities of academics, practitioners and policy makers focused on food and health in Ireland. The NRC will develop an e-learning, inter-institutional MSc programme in Public Health Nutrition for staff employed in the health care system in ROI and NI.

 

See the Centre’s website for more information.