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History professor to share insights at fatherhood symposium

Professor Alistair Thomson, professor of history at Monash University in Melbourne, will be taking an historical view of fatherhood in his keynote address at the Australian Fatherhood Research symposium in May.

Professor Thomson says understanding the history of modern fatherhood will help provide insights into the factors that continue to shape the role of fathers in family life.

“By revealing the complex forces and expectations which have shaped Australian fatherhood throughout the 20th century and into the present, our project aims to enrich historical understanding of the stresses and successes of family life, the impacts of fathers in Australian families, and the place of fatherhood in Australian social, cultural and political history,” says his keynote profile.

“Fatherhood has a deeply intimate significance while also impacting the wider society far beyond the family unit.

“Yet contemporary debate is often infused with narrow, ahistorical understandings of fatherhood that undermine efforts to develop policy and advice that is alert to the complex factors affecting men’s negotiation of family roles.

“Historians have themselves not always been especially helpful, with Australian fathers too often slipping out of the frame of historical analysis of the family.”

The AFR symposium – from 7-8 May at Deakin’s city campus, is an opportunity for researchers to get together and share ideas, joined by practitioners working with fathers.

The full program is still to be released and registrations are open until 26 April.

Joining Professor Thomson is Professor Philip Morgan, co-director, Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle.

A lead investigator on a number of community-based programs that focus on men’s health and also engage fathers to improve themselves and their children’s physical activity levels and nutrition, Professor Morgan (pictured below) will speak to the topic, ‘Engaging Fathers to Improve Family Health.’

This presentation will provide an evidence-based rationale for the importance of targeting physical activity and nutrition in families and for engaging fathers in lifestyle programs.

Effective strategies will be presented for how fathers and their families can optimise their physical and mental health. These insights will be provided from a number of multi-award winning, father-focused lifestyle programs including ‘Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids’, ‘Healthy Youngsters, Healthy Dads’, and ‘Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered’ that are now being rolled out across NSW and internationally. Each of these programs have been rigorously evaluated using randomised controlled trial designs and found to deliver meaningful health improvements for thousands of families.

Take action for men’s health

Register for the AFRS2020

Read: Groundbreaking healthy dads project to expand in 2019 (AMHF)

Read: People should have kids earlier says reproductive scientist (AMHF)







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