Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-communicable Diseases (C-POND)

C-POND was established in 2009 by the Fiji School of Medicine (part of Fiji National University) and Deakin University Melbourne. Based in Suva the Centre is supported by the Research Unit of Fiji School of Medicine and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University.

C-POND's aims and objectives
C-POND aims to provide a Pacific Centre of excellence in research, research training program and policy evaluation, knowledge translation, and other research-related activities for the prevention of obesity and non-communicable disease (NCDs).

Our objectives are:

  • To conduct solution-oriented research on obesity and NCDs
  • To disseminate the research findings and translate them into policies and practice
  • To build research capacity in obesity and NCD prevention
  • To conduct other research-related activities which further the aims of C-POND.

Governance and funding
C-POND is managed by Co-ordinator, Dr Wendy Snowdon, under the supervision of its two Executive Directors:

  • Director of Research, Fiji School of Medicine, Associate Professor Graham Roberts
  • Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Professor Boyd Swinburn.

C-POND also has a reference committee, consisting of members from a number of Pacific Island countries, along with key organisations.

Start-up funding has been provided by the Fiji School of Medicine and Deakin University. Projects and activities are funded via a range of donors and agencies including WHO, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), AusAID and research grants.

Staff
Led by the C-POND Co-ordinator, the centre employs a number of staff in Fiji. These staff are employees of the Fiji School of Medicine. The team is supported by consultants and advisors from Deakin University.

Projects and activities
Current research projects conducted by C-POND include:

  • The Pacific Obesity Prevention in Communities (OPIC) research project finished in 2010. This four-country, five-year study, targeted adolescent obesity in Fiji, Tonga, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Translational Research into Obesity Prevention in Communities (TROPIC) project has been funded by an Australian Development Research grant. This three year study is based on knowledge-exchange concepts and targets policy-making across multiple sectors, related to obesity prevention.
  • The extent of ‘junk food’ advertising and promotion in Fiji: short-term focused research to develop evidence to support legislation in Fiji.
  • Research agenda for NCDs for the region: identification of data gaps and research needs for the region.
  • Socio-cultural factors influencing diet and physical activity: assessment of factors that influence parents of young children and the impacts on their children.
  • Cost-effectiveness of dietary interventions: modelling of the costs and impacts of specific NCD and micronutrient-related dietary changes.
  • Identifying at-risk groups: development of body-mass index and waist circumference action points for the region, based on existing data.

Supporting new researchers
C-POND has a strong focus on providing a learning environment for new researchers. This includes supervision for Masters and PhD students, along with on the job mentoring and training for staff.

Students are currently involved with the following research projects:

  • Salt intake in Fiji
  • Dietary habits of adolescents, and sociocultural factors
  • Physical activity levels of adolescents and relationship with screen-based behaviours.
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