Staff profile - Karen Campbell

Staff image

AsPr Karen Campbell

Position: Associate Professor
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Exercise & Nut. Sci.
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 522 78414 +61 3 522 78414



  • Graduate Diploma (Dietetics), Deakin University, 1981
  • Bachelor of Science, Deakin University, 1981
  • Graduate Diploma of Health Education, La Trobe University, 1989
  • Master of Public Health, Monash University, 1998
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University, 2004


Australian Child and Adolescent Obesity Research Network (ACAORN)

Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS)

Public Health Association of Australia (PHA)

Australasian Society for Behavioural Health and Medicine (ASBHM)

International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA)


Professional activities

A/Prof Campbell serves/has recently served in the following roles:

2016- ongong: Associate Editor for the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity (IJBNPA)

2016- ongoing: Deputy Director for the NHMRC funded Early Prevention of Obesity in CHildhood Centre for Research Excellene (EPOCH CRE)

2016 - ongoing: Co-lead of the EPOCH CRE Translation of obesity prevention interventions in childhood stream

2002-15:   Member of the the Australasian Child and Adolescent Research Network (ACAORN) - the peak child obesity research group in Australia. Funding ceased in 2015.  I was a founding member and led the prevention stream of the network from 2008-10.

2013: Expert member of the ANPHA funded project "The cost-effectiveness and consumer acceptability of taxation strategies to reduce rates of overweight and obesity amongst children in Australia" (Brisbane  )

2010-2013:  Executive member of Parents’ Voice – a lead parent advocacy group focussed on children's diet and physical activity

1998- 2013: Member of the Public Health Association’s Food and Nutrition Special Interest Group, (the lead advocacy group for national food and health policy which I founded in 1996).

2008-2010: CSIRO Healthy Weight and Wellbeing for Children initiative

2004-2006: Department of Human Services Victoria 'Filling the Gaps - 'new parent resource' steering committee

2006-2008: National Heart Foundation of Australia Children and Families Initiative


Teaching Interests

Supervises 4 PhD students

Knowledge areas

  • Early childhood nutrition and eating behaviorus
  • Parent feeding styles and engagement
  • Obesity prevention across pregnancy and early life
  • Design and trailing of behavioral interventions
  • Public health nutrition interventions
  • Public health nutrition

Student supervision

Principal Supervisor

Dr Alison Spence: Mediators of dietary patterns in an intervention to improve early childhood nutrition.  Awarded 2012

Dr Paige van der Pligt: Opportunities to promote healthy maternal weight during and following pregnancy. Awarded 2015

Ms Jane Willcox: txt4two: Developing and mHealth model promoting healthy gestational weight gain. Submitted 2016.

Mr Adam Walsh: The impact of fathers on the dietary and physical activity behaviours of children aged 0-5 years

Ms Sarah Taki: "Engaging disadvantaged mothers through mHealth to encourage infant feeding behaviours that promote healthy weight gain"  Due submission date: 19th September 2016.

Conferences and seminars

A/Prof Campbell frequently presents her research at professional conferences and meetings. 

 Invited and fully funded international presentations

• Massey University, Nutrition for Health Professionals Symposia; Auckland NZ, June 2016
• International Congress of Obesity 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 2014
• International Congress of Dietetics 2013, Sydney, October 2013
• Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society Conference, Auckland, October  2012

Invited partially funded international presentations

 •National Institute of Public Health, University Southern Denmark
• MRC Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge University
• MRC Lifecourse Epidemiolgy Unit, University of Southhampton
• Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London
• The World Cancer Research Fund UK, (London)

Invited national presentations 2013-2016
• Sydney University launch of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence  Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood ( April 2016 )

•University of Adelaide Obesity in Pregnancy Research and Translation Alliance  (2015 funded)
• Aust/NZ Obesity Society  Developmental Origins of Obesity workshop (Melb 2015)

• Maternal &Child Health Conference (Melb 2014)

• Geelong GP’s Study Group (Geelong 2014)

• QLD University of Technology (Bris 2013 funded)

• National Heart Foundation (Melb 2013)

• Parenting Research Centre (Melb 2013)


Awards and prizes

2012  Victorian Health Promotion Foundation’s David Hill Award for Knowledge/Translation

2009 Vice Chancellors Award for Research Excellence (Early Career Researcher)

2007-2011 Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Public Health Research Fellowship

2007-2011 National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant (#425801)

2008-2010 National Heart Foundation of Australia Research Grant

2007 Central University Research Grant

2004-2006 National Heart Foundation of Australia Post Doctoral Fellowship

2000-2003 National Health and Medical Research Council Public Health Scholarship


Research projects

A/Prof Campbell current research projects include:

Victorian translation of the Infant Program to Healthy Together Communities:  The Melbourne  Infant Program was conceived and trialled by Drs Campbell and Hesketh in 2008-2013.  The resulting Infant Program was chosen by the Department of Health Victoria to be translated to community settings.  Since commencing this important work we have:

• engaged with 18  local government areas (LGAs) across Victoria
• provided 1-day training to 78 Maternal and Child Health workers across12 LGAs
• delivered Deakin’s Infant Program to an estimated 950 families

LGA interest in this program continues to grow and in 2016 four LGAs have used their evaluation of local delivery of the Infant Program to secure sustainable program delivery funding for the next 3 years, providing real evidence of strengthening partner enterprise and adding value to the broader community. 

Importantly this program of work adds substantively to the very small body of work reflecting the translation of health promotion research to policy and practice.

The Chinese Infant Feeding Program: I lead a program of work that seeks to describe the feeding practices and the weight trajectories of infants born to Chinese immigrant mothers in Australia. Publications by masters student Konsita Konswara and Dr Kristy Bolton will be available in 2016.

The Growing healthy app: funded by the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute I have co-led the trailling of a mobile phone application (app) which aims to promote best practice feeding across the first nine months of life. This trail concluded in July 2016.

Txt4Two: Led by PhD student Jane Willcox (Campbell principal supervisor), txt4two has trailled an mhealth texting and web based intervention to promote healthy diet, physical activity and gestational weight gain in overweight pregnant women. This trail concluded in 2016 and results will be published this year.

Research interests

A/Prof Campbell's program of research is characterised by the design and trialing of high quality randomised controlled trials testing interventions to promote best diet, activity and weight outcomes across pregnancy and early life.  This work includes:
*studies describing determinants of parent's dietary, activity and parenting behaviours
*studies describing young children's diet, activity and sedentary behaviours
health care provider (e.g. midwife and GP) engagement with pregnant women and children
*the development of research measurement tools (e.g. short measures of diet, feeding style)
*and in turn, the application of these findings and tools to intervention design and evaluation

Key features of the intervention studies she is involved in are scalability, ensuring uptake in the community, and relatedly, the ulitisation of mobile and e-health technologies.

Studies Currently Underway include:

The Growing healthy  study (funded by APHCRI 2012-2016). This study  trials a mobile phone app which aims to improve best practice infant feeding across the first nine months of life.  The website associtated with this app can be found here

Research grants


2016-2021 NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood APP1101675.   Amount: $2,483,243
Baur L, Askie L , Rissell C, Moodie M,Trost S, Campbell K, Hesketh K, Hayes A, Golley R, Taylor R

2015-2017 Healthway. Amount: $338,138
Gibson L, Campbell KJ, van der Pligt P, Willcox J
Promoting healthy lifestyle behaviours in obese women postpartum

2015-2016 Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant Amount: $75,000
Grimes C, Nowson C, Booth A, Campbell KJ. Application ID: 100574.
A pilot study to assess the effectiveness of a web-based education program to lower dietary salt intake in schoolchildren and increase child and parental salt knowledge

2015 Deakin University Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research  Seed Funding. Amount: $17,867
Campbell KJ, Kremer P, Laws R, Hesketh K, Bolton K.
Understanding rapid growth in infants of Chinese immigrant mothers across the first years of life: prevalence, predictors and opportunity for interventions.

2014 Deakin University School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Seed Funding. Amount: $20,924
Campbell KJ, Kremer P, Laws R, Hesketh K
Understanding rapid growth in SE Asian immigrant infants across the first year of life: prevalence, predictors and capacity for interventions

2013-2014 Melbourne Lord Mayors Fund. Amount: $49,500
Campbell KJ, Willcox J, Ball K, Crawford D.
Piloting a mobile phone (maternal health) intervention promoting healthy eating, physical activity and weight in pregnancy.

2012-2016 Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute Centres for Research Excellence (CRE). Amount: $2,379,688
COMPARE-PHC: Centre Obesity Management and Prevention Research Excellence in Primary Health Care.
Harris M, Bauman A, Laws R, Caterson I, Campbell K, Crawford D, Stocks N, Hayman N, Denney-Wilson E, Liaw S, Lynch J

2012-2015 National Health and Medical Research Council. Amount: $187,018
Askie L, Baur L, Campbell K, Daniels L, Taylor R, Wen L, Hesketh K, Magarey A, Taylor B,
Generating evidence of reduced rates of overweight/obesity in children: value adding to four established Australasian early intervention trials

2011-14 World Cancer Research Fund. Amount: 250,000 UK Pounds
Campbell K, Hesketh K, Crawford D, Lynch J, McNaughton S, Ball K, McCallum
Enhancing the evidence base by value adding to an existing successful intervention for child obesity prevention: The InFANT-Extend Randomised Controlled Trial

2011-13 National Health and Medical Research Council. Amount: $ 850,667
Hesketh K,Campbell K,Salmon J,Crawford D,Cameron A, McNaughton S
Assessing sustainability of positive outcomes in a successful child obesity prevention intervention: Follow-up of The Melbourne InFANT Program.

2011-12 Heart Foundation Australia. Amount: $128,000
Nowson C, Campbell K, Riddell L, He F, Keast R.
Reducing salt intake and salt preference  in primary school children: a randomised controlled trial.

Research page



A/Prof Campbell's publications are  provided at this link

Link to publications

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