Mission statement

The Australasian Child and Adolescent Obesity Research Network (ACAORN) was established to foster and coordinate research collaboration among Australian and New Zealand child and adolescent obesity research groups to identify key research questions and seek funding to address these with high quality research.

ACAORN functioned from 2002-20015 during which time its goal was achieved. Thanks to the support of ANZOS this website archive is available as a record of ACAORN. This also provides access to the information, tools and resources developed by the network that continue to be used and remain relevant today.

Please be aware the information, contacts and links are current only to 2018.


  1. To foster the development (and maintenance) of a coordinated Australasian program of research into basic, clinical and population health aspects of child & adolescent obesity.
  2. To promote collaboration with international child and adolescent obesity researchers and communicate with relevant professional and scientific associations about ACAORN research activities.
  3. To engage with agencies responsible for research priorities and funding to increase resources for child and adolescent obesity research.
  4. To identify and develop opportunities for training, exchange, and awards in child and adolescent obesity research.
  5. To raise the profile of childhood obesity research.


ACAORN’s history

The Australasian Child and Adolescent Obesity Research Network (ACAORN) was established in November 2002 with a grant from the NSW Department of Health in response to the challenges posed by the current epidemic of child and adolescent obesity. The goal of ACAORN was to bring together the Australasian paediatric and adolescent obesity research community to collaborate on a co-ordinated and appropriately funded range of research activities.

ACAORN had around 70 members from many different research groups, representing Australia’s leading paediatric and adolescent obesity researchers. All are committed to the goal of performing research to develop effective prevention and treatment programs, to improve outcomes and to reduce the prevalence of child and adolescent overweight and obesity. The initial funding from the NSW Department of Health enabled these researchers to meet face-to-face to discuss the strengths and weaknesses in paediatric obesity research and to devise new strategies and solutions to address these issues.

During its lifespan, ACAORN made significant progress towards its goals. The ACAORN meetings enabled members to:

  • determine the most pressing research issues;
  • set up Special Interest Streams to address these issues; and
  • plan and commence research into these areas.


Past child and adolescent obesity stream co-leaders:

  • Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour – Tony Okely, Louise Hardy, Jim Dollman
  • Food & Nutrition – Michael Dibley, Karen Campbell, Clare Collins, Anthea Magarey, Rebecca Golley, Tracy Burrows
  • Management – Kate Steinbeck, Louise Baur
  • Prevention – Boyd Swinburn, Elizabeth Waters, Kerry O’Brien, Colin Bell, Elizabeth Denney-Wilson, Karen Campbell, Rachel Jones
  • Outcomes & Complications – Sue Byrne, Melissa Wake, Michael Dibley