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Tuesday, 28 June 2016 10:11

Region's Leaders Endorse Obesity Prevention as Top Priority

In a community-wide approach to tackling childhood obesity, the Great South Coast Group has endorsed the Childhood Obesity Prevention project as a priority for the region.

This world first initiative is being closely monitored by international researchers and at its recent meeting, the Great South Coast Board unanimously agreed to adopt it as a priority project.

Chair of the Great South Coast, Cr Colin Ryan, said obesity-related health issues is currently costing the nation's health system more than $21 billion annually, however evidence shows this trend can be reversed.

"When our communities join together to counteract unhealthy messages about lifestyle and diet from childhood, we will see a significant cultural shift and reduce the prevalence of obesity within our region," he said

"A strong focus on childhood obesity prevention has existed for many years and in the majority of the Great South Coast region there is good work happening at the local community level."

The new project will aim to increase the capacity of community leaders to use systems thinking for community-wide obesity prevention.

The project team will work with primary care partnerships, primary school principal networks, district health services, local councils and other partners from the Great South Coast region – a partnership that has already delivered several world-leading childhood obesity prevention interventions.

It will focus on developing community-built action plans in a randomised trial in 10 Great South Coast communities, involving parents and leaders from local government, education, clubs, agencies and business, who can influence environments where children experience the key risk factors for obesity.

"Our region has higher levels of overweight and obesity than the State average, with two in three adults and one in three children are either overweight or obese," said Cr Ryan.

"All Councils and health services in the Great South Coast region have identified obesity as a priority issue as part of their municipal public health plans, and the project clearly aligns with the Great South Coast Regional Strategic Plan."

Deakin University's Professor Steven Allender is leading the project, together with a team of Deakin University researchers. It also has direct input from a collaborative partnership comprising South West PCP, Southern Grampians Glenelg PCP, the five local Councils, State Government, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention.

The Great South Coast Group is the peak advocacy body for the region bounded by the Shires of Corangamite, Moyne, Southern Grampians, Glenelg and the City of Warrnambool.


Media Contact: Amy Gibson Ph. 03 5560 5389/0435 199 108

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