Student & ECR Spotlight – Andrea Fuller’s PhD involves developing and piloting a parenting intervention to be delivered in playgroups

Please tell us about your career pathway to date.

I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with a Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics in 2016 and am now an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD). I then applied for a PhD project and scholarship with Professor Stewart Trost and commenced the PhD in March 2017. Since then, I have been working on my PhD full-time and expect/hope to finish this in March 2020. I also work a few hours a week as a sessional academic at QUT, teaching undergraduate nutrition units.


How would you briefly describe your current research to someone who is not familiar with your field of study? What is your main research interest?

My research interest is obesity prevention in children under 5 years, and how parenting practices influence the development of obesity-related behaviours in young children. My PhD project involves the development and piloting of a parenting intervention to be delivered in playgroups. Playgroups are parent groups for parents and their pre-school aged child for socialisation and play. Focus groups with parents were used to develop the intervention and it will be evaluated using a cluster randomised controlled trial methodology.


What are the main barriers you encounter/experience when conducting research, or what information/skills do you lack to conduct high quality research?

I am lucky to have extremely experienced and supportive supervisors, so there have not been too many barriers to my research so far. The focus groups were very successful and I was able to get some great data. However, I am currently recruiting playgroups for the randomised controlled trial, and I am finding that a little challenging in terms of the numbers of groups/participants needed for the study within the time frame of my PhD.


What could help you as a student to further develop/grow in your current position?

I am attending the 2019 ISBNPA Annual Meeting, so I expect meeting other students, ECRs and researchers in the field of obesity prevention intervention to be of great benefit to me, to help build my knowledge and develop me as a researcher.


What do you think will be the next most important development in the nutrition and/or physical activity field?

Further research in parent and family-based interventions that target parenting practices and the development of the child’s healthy relationships with food and physical activity.



You can reach Andrea by email: [email protected]