Research Projects Using Growing Up Data

Growth monitoring Aotearoa: Scoping a national system for tamariki and rangatahi

Publication Date:
Lead Organisation:
University of Auckland
Lead Researcher:
Teresa Gontijo de Castro
Access Type:
Primary Classification:
Health and Wellbeing
Secondary Classification:

In Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) approximately three in ten 2-14-year- olds are affected by overweight/obesity, with much greater rates amongst Māori and Pacific than Pākehā. However, the existing national sources of data used to monitor growth among tamariki and rangatahi in Aotearoa are fragmented, do not contain information for 0-2-year-olds, have big gaps for school-aged children, and are mostly aggregated at the national level. This means that Aotearoa lacks group-specific information (e.g.: by age, region and socio- demographics) on prevalence, trends, and determinants of healthy growth among 0-19-year-olds. This information is crucial if equitable improvements are to be achieved. In this scoping study we intend to map and assess in depth the potential and limitations of diverse sources of anthropometric data of 0-19-year-olds in the last 2 decades to establish what would be required and which sources would be suitable to be included in a national monitoring platform in future, intended to be made available to end-users. Such platform would have the potential to: i) monitor progress on children`s growth and on reducing obesity and its related inequities nationally and by region; ii) identify areas and sub-populations of higher need or which could provide exemplars of intervention actions; iii) provide the outcome evaluation data for population interventions to maintain healthy weight and; iv) inform, shape and catalyse regional actions to tackle unhealthy weight. This is a feasible scoping study, which will evaluate, separately, datasets from cohort and cross- sectional studies, national surveys and health providers for their suitability to contribute to the platform in future. Each dataset (containing only anonymised or de-identified data) will be accessed and assessed separately, under consultation with national and international advisory groups. There will be no anthropometric data extraction, collation or linkage of datasets within this scoping study. The reason for accessing the dataset is to assess the quantity and quality of the data (variables, populations, years, missingness, etc) so each dataset is well mapped for potential contribution to a future monitoring platform. Consultations with the advisory groups will be also made on the following: potential statistics to use in future to build the platform, anticipated ethical and technical issues for creating the platform, platform`s data governance and Maori and Pacific data sovereignty. Data owners/managers from each dataset will be invited to compose the national advisory group, alongside others such as: Pacific and Māori representatives, experts in Māori and Pacific Data sovereignty and technical and ethical experts. Experts in growth monitoring platforms and in Bayesian (or similar) statistics will compose the international advisory group.

For the GUiNZ study, we aim to access and assess the GUiNZ anthropometric data collection from birth to 8 years of age, in consultation with researchers from the GUiNZ study team.