Shire joins obesity response
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.