Last month, 2nd-4th February, Dr Dominika Kwasnicka who is a CRE Senior Research Fellow attended the Australasian Society of Behavioural Health and Medicine Conference. The meeting was meant to be hosted in Perth, however, due to border closures, it turned out to be a virtual conference. Researchers from Australia, New Zealand, and international colleagues attended the conference. Dr Kwasnicka represented our centre, talking about our work in digital health and how we are transforming chronic disease using technologies.
Dr Kwasnicka also gave a talk on the process evaluation study of the Aussie-FIT program which she delivered together with her colleagues in 2019. This week Dr Kwasnicka and her colleagues also learnt about the Heart Foundation announcement that this men’s health program, Aussie Fans in Training (Aussie-FIT), which uses a passion for AFL to keep men active and engaged, will now be able to expand thanks to a $1 million dollar funding boost by the National Heart Foundation of Australia.
Led by Associate Professor Eleanor Quested from Curtin’s enAble Institute and School of Population Health, the 12-week Aussie-FIT program is delivered in collaboration with football clubs, using their facilities and ‘behind the scenes experiences’, to help men at risk of or diagnosed with cardiovascular disease to learn skills to develop and maintain healthier habits, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, and being more active.
With almost three out of four middle-aged Australian men living with overweight or obesity, this program and the insights gained could help address the important national health issue and social burden of cardiovascular disease.
Dr Kwasnicka is Associate Investigator on this project, she will provide expertise with regard to use and measurement of behaviour change strategies in the program. The Heart Foundation grant will allow the team to both ‘scale-up’ the program to make it available through more WA football clubs and ‘scale out’ to reach male footy as well as rugby fans in other states, such as Queensland and the Northern Territory.The Aussie-FIT Chief Investigators research team also includes Professor Andrew Maiorana, Curtin University, Professor James Smith, Flinders University, A/Professor Toby Pavey, Queensland University of Technology, Professor Graham Hillis, Royal Perth Hospital and Dr Tracy McCaffrey, Monash University. Partner organisations include Australian Football League – Northern Territory, West Australian Football Commission, Queensland Rugby League, Cancer Council WA (Live Lighter campaign) and Healthy Stadia.