Shire joins obe­sity re­sponse

Alpine Observer - - News -

THE Alpine Shire through their part­ner­ship with Cen­tral Hume Pri­mary Care will take part in a new Deakin Univer­sity lead pro­gram, RE­SPOND.

RE­SPOND is a com­mu­nity based sys­tems re­sponse to im­prov­ing the health and well­be­ing of chil­dren across the Ovens Mur­ray – Goul­burn re­gion.

The pro­ject is sup­ported by a $1.5 mil­lion Na­tional Health and Med­i­cal Re­search Fund (NHMRC) Pro­ject Part­ner­ship Grant and a fur­ther $2.6 mil­lion in part­ner con­tri­bu­tions.

Deakin Univer­sity’s Global Obe- sity Cen­tre is part­ner­ing with com­mu­nity lead­ers across the re­gion to de­liver the ini­tia­tive.

The ini­tia­tive will work with each com­mu­nity to drive pos­i­tive and prac­ti­cal changes from the ground up that as­sist in pro­mot­ing healthy weight among chil­dren.

This will in­clude help­ing lo­cal peo­ple to iden­tify their own com­mu­nity-spe­cific ac­tions which cre­ate health­ier food en­vi­ron­ments and get lo­cal kids more ac­tive.

The pro­gram also works with or­gan­i­sa­tions and com­mu­nity lead­ers to iden­tify what changes can be driv- en at an or­gan­i­sa­tional man­age­ment and pol­icy level.

RE­SPOND will build on sim­i­lar suc­cess­ful pre­ven­tion pro­grams be­ing run at a com­mu­nity level with sup­port from the Global Obe­sity Cen­tre in South West Vic­to­ria, and also at a school level in the ACT.

These pro­grams have pro­duced pos­i­tive im­prove­ments in health and well­be­ing amongst chil­dren, in­clud­ing a re­duc­tion in obe­sity lev­els.

Lead In­ves­ti­ga­tor, Pro­fes­sor Steven Al­len­der, who is also the Direc­tor of the Global Obe­sity Cen­tre in the In­sti­tute for Health Trans­for- ma­tion, said changes from the RE­SPOND pro­gram would range from big to small.

“They could in­clude the ways or­gan­i­sa­tions al­lo­cate fund­ing, a lo­cal gov­ern­ments ap­proach to zon­ing and li­cens­ing, re­moval of su­gar sweet­ened bev­er­ages from com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties, es­tab­lish­ing walk­ing school buses, in­tro­duc­ing healthy op­tions at school can­teens, or im­prov­ing the avail­abil­ity of tap wa­ter in pub­lic set­tings,” he said.

“RE­SPOND will of­fer the re­gion a cut­ting edge ap­proach to sup­port com­mu­ni­ties to suc­cess­fully ad­dress the com­plex driv­ers of child­hood obe­sity.

“Ul­ti­mately it’s about en­cour­ag­ing a whole com­mu­nity ap­proach to cre­ate a healthy en­vi­ron­ment that helps our chil­dren get the best start to life, be­cause our re­search shows that im­prov­ing com­mu­nity ca­pac­ity is a key driver of re­duc­ing child­hood obe­sity lev­els.”

RE­SPOND is sup­ported by the Vic­to­rian De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices (DHHS), Vic­to­rian De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (DET) and VicHealth.

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