New Centre to target health and well being of children and young people

Children and young people in the UK are set to benefit from a new centre of excellence focused on tackling health issues of most concern to them.

The new Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), which launches on Wednesday 13 May, is a joint venture by the Universities of Cardiff, Bristol and Swansea.

The Centre will bring together leading experts from a range of disciplines to strengthen public health research in the South West and Wales, and identify effective ways to improve the health of the public.

The major health problems that face us today are the poor health and life expectancy of deprived populations and preventable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The major causes of these problems include social, environmental and behavioural issues such as physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, poor housing and economic inactivity.

Exposure to these causes over the life course are largely determined at a young age, where youth culture, family breakdown, antisocial behaviour, disengagement from school and the adoption of behaviours such as smoking, binge drinking and sedentary lifestyles can hugely affect long term health.  DECIPHer will focus on the determinants of health and health behaviour among young people and identify effective policies and interventions to improve health and well being and reduce uptake of risk behaviours.

The Centre will be led by Professor Laurence Moore, Director of the Cardiff Institute for Society, Health and Ethics (CISHE) at Cardiff University, with colleagues at the University of Bristol, led by Professor Rona Campbell, and Swansea University, led by Professor Ronan Lyons.

It is one of five new Public Health Research Centres of Excellence in the UK which have been funded by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC), but the only one to focus on the health and well being of children and young people.

Professor Campbell said: "Health inequalities and poor health generally are major problems in the UK which place increasing demands on the NHS. Yet much of this can be prevented if we can identify effective ways to improve health and well being and reduce health inequalities.

"The key to DECIPHer's success will be to work in partnership with policy makers, practitioners and the  public at all stages to ensure that the research carried out is relevant to their needs and has an impact on the health of the public .  As well as making a mark on the UK Public Health Research landscape, the aim will be to make a lasting impact on the health of children and young people across the South West of England, Wales and internationally."

A total of £20million was invested to establish the five Centres of Excellence across the UK by a partnership of funders. The funders who supported the initiative came together under the umbrella of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) to develop this co-ordinated approach to strengthen public health research in the UK.

The official launch of the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), will take place on Wednesday 13 May at the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

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