Women's Economic Forum UN General Assembly Address

I was offered the opportunity to present Mashblox infant self-feeding research research case to the UN General Assembly as part of their 75th annual Science Digital event: How science is impacting the UN sustainable development goals, and my second international award from the Women's Economic Forum, Young Innovators Creating a Better World for All.

The awards presentation was on 25th September (1AM AEST). 

See video or transcript below, and keep an eye on TEDx for the complete research. The video link is anticipated mid-Jan 2020.

Hi, I’m Alix O’Hara, Inventor Founder and CEO of for-purpose research based enterprise Mashblox, and recent political candidate for the Australian Climate Change Justice Party,

In both functions, I intend to further awareness of my cutting edge health research insights[footnote a)] both through available commercial means,

And among the party’s suite of progressive integrative policies to seed, nurture and ensure greater health and future prosperity, starting in the Australian Capital Territory.

I’m delighted to accept this award for my invention supporting a powerful idea: That How we learn to eat, is at least as important as what, to our lifelong obesity risk and concomitant disease burden.

This is in support of UN sustainable development goals to ensure a healthy life and promote wellbeing at all ages, and related aims to reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases.


Children in more abundant nations spend their formative years being taught to eat more, and the comparison with developing nations is almost criminal,

When ever after we’re cautioned or chastised for eating too much, or the wrong things, or for not exercising hard enough to counterbalance the effects of what often amounts to childhood nutritional and satiety programming, that we retain ever since.

This education starts from spoon feeding, and from How they are taught to eat:

How much, how fast, and why.

Improving habit trajectory in the first three years obviously has profound implications for the child, but also for the economy, where the economic burden of obesity represents 2.8% of the global GDP of 81 trillion[1],

and infant obesity is estimated to contribute as much as 20% to adult risk.[2]

My mission, in my capacity with Mashblox,

As well as in health policy contribution starting with the Australian Climate Change Justice Party [or co-option of our policies by other parties], Is to spread adoption and engagement with infant self-feeding practices:

The only obesity intervention measure bearing success[3] in 195 countries in over 30 years.[4]

As a mission driven enterprise, Mashblox has unprecedented opportunity to apply commercial means to spearheading scalable adoption and engagement with the practice [ b)], while integrating with research for the medium to long term impacts of nutritional and satiety programming,

The astounding Professor Lizbeth Goodman has offered me a practice based PhD placement through the SmartLab programme she founded for these insights.

The deceptively simple invention that I’m delighted and honoured to accept the award for, Mashblox, serves two functions. It is an infant self-feeding tool that is both a consumer product with broad if as yet anecdotal proof of its unprecedented alleviation of infant fussy and sensory eating challenges, just by putting the food in the blox and letting children follow their instincts and intrinsic cues.

Mashblox infant self-feeding blox with frozen raspberries, scrambled egg, mashed avocado and spaghetti bolognaise. Displayed with Non-Toxic awards badges baby mealtime (gold), and eco-innovation (semifinalist)

And it is a pivotal research tool that overcomes the risks that have limited progress with self-feeding research for infant obesity intervention to date,

Namely that many children choke on anything solid enough for them to hold and self-feed, or iron deficiencies because softer iron fortified foods, are neither practical nor quantifiable for a self-feed in a scalable clinical trial.

A number of experts around the world are coming to the same conclusion,

that How children are taught to eat matters at least as much as what,

But until now, they haven’t had practical solutions to make their recommendations both safe and accessible to all.

We believe that nobody knows better than the child how much they need to eat, they just need the tools and support to feed themselves.

Thankyou. ~ References:

[1] Tremmel M, Gerdtham UG, Nilsson PM, Saha S. Economic Burden of Obesity: A Systematic Literature Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017;14(4):435. Published 2017 Apr 19.

[2] Singhal A, Kennedy K, Lanigan J, Fewtrell M, Cole T J, Stephenson T, Elias-Jones A, Weaver L T, Ibhanesebhor S, MacDonald P D, Bindels J, and Lucas A. Nutrition in infancy and long-term risk of obesity: evidence from 2 randomized controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010; Published 29 Sep 2010.

[3] Townsend E, Pitchford NJ. Baby knows best? The impact of weaning style on food preferences and body mass index in early childhood in a case–controlled sample. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000298.

[4] Ng M Fleming T Robinson M et al. Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet. 2014; (published online May 29.)

Footnotes: a)