Our Research

For the last 10 years we have been developing evidence-based resources for teachers and schools to use in Health & Physical Education classes. These award-winning programs are loved by students and teachers across Australia:

Programs loved by all

Built on years of university research and co-designed with teachers and students, we use our innovative storyboards and online technology to reach young Australians and change their lives. To date, 14,169 students from 157 schools have participated in six randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of the Climate Schools programs. Post trials, an additional 350 schools and over 10,000 students have registered to use the programs.

Results from our trials of the Climate Schools programs have been published in Australian and International Journals.

Our research shows that the Climate Schools courses improve student outcomes by:

  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Reducing binge drinking
  • Reducing cannabis use
  • Reducing ecstasy use
  • Reducing harms related to the use of alcohol and ecstasy
  • Reducing intentions to use ecstasy and psychostimulants, new psychoactive substances (emerging drugs), and synthetic cannabis
  • Increasing knowledge about alcohol and cannabis, ecstasy and new psychoactive substances (emerging drugs)
  • Improving attitudes towards alcohol

The Health4Life Initiative aims to build on this research to address the increasing burden of chronic disease. Chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancers and mental disorders, are the leading cause of death and disability in Australia. Poor diet, smoking, risky alcohol use, physical inactivity, recreational screen time and poor sleep are the “Big 6” risk factors associated with chronic disease.

Importantly, our research suggests that risk behaviours cluster and are related to mental health. Once the Big 6 are established they are more likely to persist, than reduce, over the life course. Early and effective prevention are therefore critical.

To date, most approaches to improve health have focused on changing single behaviours only. A multiple health behaviour change approach, in which risk factors are targeted together, rather than in isolation, is a timely and efficient way to address the root causes of chronic diseases.

Our solution utilises established frameworks for primary and secondary prevention to reduce or delay the risk factors for chronic disease and intervene early where early signs of risk have already emerged.

With support from the Paul Ramsay Foundation, our team will build an innovative model to enable the use of evidence-based online health and well-being programs across Australia.

Below is a list of some of our most recent research in this space:

Champion, K.E, Mather, M, Spring, B, Kay-Lambkin, F, & Teesson, M & Newton, N.C. (2018). Clustering of multiple risk behaviors among a sample of 18-year old Australians and associations with mental health outcomes: A latent class analysis. Frontiers in Public Health.

Teesson, M., Newton, N.C., Slade, T., Carragher, N., Barrett, E.L., Champion, K.E., Kelly, E.V., Nair, N.K., Stapinski, L. & Conrod, P. (2017). Combined universal and selective prevention for adolescent alcohol use: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Psychological Medicine. 47(10): 1761-1770.

Champion, K.E., Newton, N.C., Spring, B, Wafford, E., Parmenter, B. & Teesson, M. (2017). A systematic review of school-based eHealth interventions targeting alcohol use, smoking, physical inactivity, diet, sedentary behaviour and sleep among adolescents: Review protocol. Systematic Reviews. 6: 246.