ICE Project 2015


ICE Project 2015

Project Title: Designing, evaluating and implementing a pilot complex intervention in childhood obesity

Funded by: Health Research Board Interdisciplinary Capacity Award 2015

Background and Objectives:

Childhood obesity is a serious public health concern with significant psychosocial, health and economic consequences. Early infant feeding practices (aged 0-2 years), including when and how parents introduce solid foods to infants, can impact overweight and obesity in childhood and later life. The overall aim of this research is therefore to develop, implement and evaluate a pilot complex intervention to promote optimal infant feeding practices in primary care. A team of researchers from UCC, NUI Galway and Trinity College are currently working together to address 4 main objectives:


  1. To describe the burden of childhood overweight and obesity in Ireland, in terms of the financial costs, and its impact on current and future health and well-being of children and their families in Ireland.
  2. To compile information from existing studies on the influence of early infant feeding practices on obesity in children.
  3. To increase our understanding of infant feeding practices, and ways we may be able to change these, in Ireland via interviews with parents and health care workers.
  4. To develop and test an intervention for primary care to increase healthy early infant feeding practices, with a goal of improving childhood obesity outcomes.


Principal Investigator:

Professor Patricia Kearney, Research Professor, Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork


Co-Applicants/ Research Team:

  • Dr Molly Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and HRB Research Leader, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
  • Dr Janas Harrington, Lecturer in Nutritional Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College Cork
  • Professor Catherine Hayes, Associate Professor in Public Health Medicine, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr Edel Doherty, Lecturer in Health Economics, Department of Economics, NUI Galway
  • Dr Caroline Heary, Lecturer in Developmental Psychology, School of Psychology, NUI Galway
  • Dr Sheena McHugh, Research Fellow, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College Cork


ICE Postdoctoral Research Fellows:

Dr Michelle Queally, Department of Economics, NUI Galway


Michelle is the lead role in the development of the health economic aspects of the research project. This includes modelling the economic costs of childhood obesity, economic costing of including intervention in vaccination and also the economic evaluation of the childhood treatment intervention.






Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCC


Karen is a health psychologist who is currently working on synthesis of quantitative and qualitative research related to infant feeding and early interventions. Karen is involved in the design, piloting and evaluation of the pilot complex intervention to promote optimal infant feeding practices.






Dr Elaine Toomey, School of Psychology, NUI Galway


Elaine recently completed her PhD in the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science in University College Dublin. Elaine is joining the team at the end of July and will also be involved in synthesising existing evidence, and designing, piloting and evaluating the intervention.


Subscribe to our mailing list