Seminal work in childhood lifestyle health and obesity

Professor Helen Skouteris is Australia’s top non-clinician paediatric obesity expert and ranked 16th in the world (of 26,452 experts, expertscape). She’s worked with her mentees Dr Heidi Bergmeier and Dr Heather Morris, who were her PhD students on the following seminal work:

  • Shifting the emphasis in childhood obesity research, just as in developmental research, from the parent and child as individuals to the parent-child dyad, and understanding the development of child eating and physical activity in the ecology of parent-child dyadic interactions
  • Pioneering advances in the observational measurement of bidirectional parent-child mealtime (meal preparation and child feeding) and playtime interactions – developing a system to code filmed home observations of these interactions based on the Mutually Responsive Orientation (MRO) work of Kochanska, Aksan and colleagues, including maternal responsiveness, child responsiveness, positive and negative affective tone of both mothers and their children, shared positive affect, maternal power assertion (maternal control) and qualitative distinctions in children’s compliance and noncompliance with maternal directives
  • Extending conceptual understanding of early parent-child dyadic pathways influencing childhood obesity to include pregnancy
  • With mentee Dr Heather Morris and early childhood education colleagues, pioneering an early childhood pedagogical approach for integrating healthy eating, active play, and sustainability education for pre-school children using play-based learning

Professor Skouteris has published over 84 peer reviewed papers in this area, including conceptual advances (led by Dr Heidi Bergmeier) and an invited book chapter.