AUT inspires Seychelles’ response to childhood obesity

02 Jun, 2016
AUT inspires Seychelles’ response to childhood obesity
AUT Professor Elaine Rush and Director of Family Health and Nutrition Programmes for the Seychelles Islands Rosie Bistoquet.

AUT South Campus recently played host to Director of Family Health and Nutrition Programmes for the Seychelles Islands, Rosie Bistoquet.

Bistoquet was in New Zealand for two weeks, to learn from local findings on curbing childhood obesity and gain insights to take back to the developing nation of Seychelles. Childhood obesity is a serious health issue in the Indian Ocean Island State, and a growing concern.

During her time in New Zealand, Bistoquet worked closely with AUT Professor of Nutrition Studies Elaine Rush, who has had a hand in some of New Zealand’s most successful projects tackling childhood obesity – among them Project Energize, the Pacific Islands Families Study, and Body Composition and Metabolism research in South Auckland and the Waikato.

Professor Rush says Bistoquet’s visit highlights the fact that childhood obesity is a global health problem. “Childhood obesity is a complicated issue, no country is isolated in the fight against child obesity,” she says.

Bistoquet says her trip to New Zealand has been a fulfilling and inspiring one. “South Auckland and the AUT South Campus has a really wonderful community feel - I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here,” she says.

“I’ve taken a lot of learnings away with me from this trip, and we are looking forward to seeing how we can apply these in a Seychelles context,” she says.

Bistoquet emphasised that true success in fighting child obesity lies in a globally integrated effort, and praised New Zealand’s research into childhood obesity prevention tactics. “This sort of research is critical in order for us to positively impact our target communities.”

“Programmes to fight childhood obesity in Seychelles and worldwide have to be integrated – we cannot succeed in one area, having failed in another,” she says.

Rosie’s visit was funded by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Since 2002 the IAEA has regularly sent scientists and specialists to AUT for training.

Professor Rush says the AUT South Campus is proud to be a learning base for international cooperation projects.

“Rosie’s visit is a great example of how communities around the world benefit from the sharing of AUT’s research and academic expertise.”