Associate Professor Phil Morgan from the University of Newcastle - a leading expert in the field of weight reduction - has won a prestigious Young Tall Poppy Science Award.
The awards recognise the achievements of Australia's outstanding young scientific researchers and communicators.
Associate Professor Morgan's research is focused on the impact of cost-effective, engaging and sustainable strategies to prevent and treat obesity, particularly in children. Obesity is a major community health problem in Australia, with 70 per cent of men, 55 per cent of women and 25 per cent of children affected.
"I am thrilled to receive this nationally significant award," he said. "I am passionate about educating our community to address this national issue, which cost Australia $58 billion in direct and indirect health care costs in 2008."
Associate Professor Morgan completed his PhD just six years ago and has been rapidly promoted in recognition of his research and teaching achievements. He has won several university, state and national awards for teaching excellence and is a member of several national advisory committees on obesity and physical activity.
His three current research programs are SHED-IT, an online weight loss program for men; 'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids', designed to help fathers promote and demonstrate positive physical activity and healthy eating for their children; and the School Garden Project, investigating whether school children who grow vegetables are more inclined to eat them. Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Director Professor Maree Gleeson nominated Associate Professor Morgan for the award.
"Phil is leading an outstanding team of young researchers, is a great communicator and he is motivating the Hunter children and men to lose weight," Professor Gleeson said.
"He is an excellent example of the strength of our early career researchers in the Hunter."
Associate Professor Morgan's 'Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids' project is supported by an HMRI grant from the 2008 Gastronomic Lunch of the Year and the School Garden Project is funded by an HMRI grant from Coles. Associate Professor Morgan works in collaboration with HMRI's Cardiovascular Research Program.