Health Observatory


The ultimate aim of the Health Observatory is to contribute to positive ageing by improving population health across the life span. The work involves the tracking of population health to identify gaps/targets that can be better addressed through prevention strategies and/or better management chronic conditions and conditions associated with ageing.

Our aim is to use the intelligence gained from this knowledge to initiate focussed clinical and public health intervention studies to address these problems.


Current Projects

Nutrition Obesity Lifestyle & Environment (NOBLE II) Study An ARC-funded multi-disciplinary study of obesity in South Australia currently focussed on the obesity problem in young families and among the babyboomer population.
South Australian Intergenerational Population Health Study (SAPHIRe)
Place and Metabolic Syndrome Study (PAMS) An NHMRC-funded project in collaboration with colleagues at the University of South Australia (Prof Mark Daniels) which is examining the relationship of place- of work, living, social interactions, environment- on cardiometabolic risk factors and diseases.
Frailty and Nutrition (FAN) Study: Under-nutrition In Older People In South Australia, almost 50% of frail community dwelling older people are at-risk of under-nutrition and negative health consequences. As people age, appetite and food intake decreases (Anorexia of Ageing). Consequently, weight and muscle mass (Sarcopenia) is lost. This current research will aim to evaluate the effects of testosterone and nutritional supplementation for one year on hospitalization and quality of life in a group community dwelling older people with nutritional risk.
 Apple i-phone “asthma application” for asthma management (Pilot Study) This study involves the testing of an “asthma app” for Apple iPhones in a small number of people with asthma to determine if it is easy and convenient to use. The asthma app is designed to collect information daily about asthma symptoms and lung function.  This will help people with asthma monitor their level of asthma control and encourage self-management.
Study Completed, Being Analysed
The North West Adelaide Health Study  A biomedical and biographical cohort study of the North West Adelaide population which has just completed clinic visits in Stage 3 of the study.
Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment Study (MAILES) An NHMRC-funded research program that assessed the impact of inflammation, obesity and male sex hormones on cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and their interaction with traditional lifestyle risk factors in men followed in FAMAS and NWAHS. An important sub-study looking at sleep disorders and obesity and their relationship to cardio-metabolic disease in men. This  involved Level 3 home sleep studies on 862 men.
Fish oil in Knee Osteoarthritis Study (FOSTAR) This is a randomised clinical trial of low or high dose fish oil in people with knee OA. 200 people have been recruited from 3 sites in Australia (TQEH, Sydney and Hobart) with the co-ordinating centre at TQEH. Follow up of participants will finish in Feb 2011 with results projected for mid-2011.
Lungs for Life Study (LuFli) A population  research study investigating the misdiagnosis of respiratory diseases (asthma and chronic obstructive airways disease) and the ways in which diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be improved.
Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study (FAMAS) FAMAS is a longitudinal study of men aged 35-80 examining the health and health-related behaviours of 1195 randomly selected men living in the north west regions of Adelaide.
For Recruitment Shortly
Health Literacy  It is important that people with health problems understand the nature of their problem, why the problem is important and what they can do to mange effectively and optimise health outcomes.  The Observatory is currently assessing population health literacy in South Australia using various sample populations such as NWAHS and FAMAS cohorts and in the SA Health Omnibus study. We are also specifically examining literacy on several chronic conditions. In collaboration with A/Prof Jen Wang, Institute for Social and Preventative Medicine, University of Zurich, we have surveyed 500 adults in South Australia with the new Swiss Health Literacy instrument. This tool is an exciting new development in the measurement of health literacy .
Mental Health Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are often co-morbidities alongside other health problems and complicate the severity and management issues involved. A number of studies on mental health are underway in relation to obesity, respiratory disease and diabetes.
Impact of Foot Disorders Data from the North West Adelaide Health Study (NWAHS) demonstrates that foot pain is common in the community and more research into its causes are required in the Australian community.



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Student Opportunities

For student opportunities in the Health Observatory click here


Chief Investigators

Professor Robert Adams

Associate Professor Catherine Hill

Associate Professor Renuka Visvanathan

Professor Richard Ruffin

Professor Gary Wittert

Adjunct Professor David Wilson

Postgraduate Fellows

Dr Sarah Appleton

Dr Cynthia Piantadosi

Dr Tiffany Gill


Ms Judith Sowden


Ms Elsa Dent  

Mr Mark Dodd

Mr Graeme (Tommy) Tucker

Ms Jennifer Buckley

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Contact Details


0011 8 81334046

0011 8 82226740



0011 8  82226042



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