2016 Healthy Development Adelaide Award

Professor Tim Olds

Professor Tim Olds was presented with the Healthy Development Adelaide Award at the 12th annual HDA Oration; ‘Obesity Wars Revisited'.

Professor Tim Olds is a Professor of Behavioural Epidemiology in the Alliance for Research in Exercise Nutrition and Activity, School of Health Sciences, at the University of South Australia. After completing a PhD in French at the University of Sydney, Tim received a second PhD in exercise science in 1997.

His research interests have been in mathematical modelling of cycling performance, population and sports anthropometry, and more recently use of time, and secular trends in the sleep, fitness, fatness, physical activity and food intake of children and adolescents.

Tim has received $25.8 million in grants and consultancies, and has 260 publications. He is a regular columnist for Australasian Scientist, and has contributed to New Philosopher and The Conversation.

Oration overview: Over the last decade, there has been a vigorous and occasionally vituperative debate around childhood fatness. Are children getting fatter? Are they eating more than they used to? How should we deal with it? Does the physical environment matter, and are soft drinks the culprit? This presentation will review the evidence, concluding that:

  • there has been no increase in childhood fatness for well over a decade
  • overweight adults live longer, but childhood overweight still matters
  • the physical environment makes only a small difference
  • children are eating less than they did in the past
  • soft drinks and confectionery play a modest role.
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