Community-based Obesity Prevention Sites (CO-OPS Collaboration)

History
The Collaboration of Community-based Obesity Prevention Sites (CO-OPS Collaboration) is an initiative funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing which aims to support community-based obesity prevention initiatives through a collaborative approach to promoting best practice, knowledge translation and by providing networking opportunities, support and advice. The Collaboration is led by leading researchers from Deakin University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.

Goals

  • To identify and analyse the lessons learnt from a range of community-based obesity prevention initiatives aimed at tackling obesity.
  • To identify the elements that make community-based obesity prevention initiatives successful and share the knowledge gained with other communities.

Vision Statement
To cultivate collaborative efforts to improve the quality and breadth of community-based obesity prevention

What is a Community-based Obesity Prevention Initiative?
CO-OPS defines community-based obesity prevention initiatives as initiatives that seek to promote healthy eating and physical activity, in a way that would be expected to influence energy balance thus contributing to the prevention of obesity at the population level. The type of initiatives or programs that the CO-OPS Collaboration focuses on are those that consider the socio-cultural and environmental determinants of obesity within a setting or population group, rather than those with a focus solely on individual behaviour change or weight loss (treatment).

CO-OPS includes practitioners, researchers, funders and evaluators of programs which have obesity prevention as part of their objectives as well as healthy eating and physical activity programs which contribute to obesity prevention.

The CO-OPS Collaboration acknowledges that there are a range of different interventions throughout Australia of varying size and scope, each with an important role in community-based obesity prevention. The CO-OPS Collaboration develops resources and support systems that account for these differences.

Knowledge translation and exchange
The CO-OPS Collaboration employs a Knowledge Broker and Program Evaluator who are available to CO-OPS members to assist with advice and support.

CO-OPS harnesses the use of research and evidence to improve the planning, implementation and evaluation of community-based obesity prevention initiatives. CO-OPS is a support system accelerating the use of knowledge, evidence and evaluation by those involved in community-based obesity prevention. CO-OPS shares information and evidence with participating sites through a wide variety of communications including:

  • Publishing and communicating widely (including through scientific conferences, journals and the media) on best practices approaches to community-based obesity prevention
  • Provides on-going support and advice services for new and ongoing community-based projects
  • Maintains an up to date evidence-based website complete with, training tools and resources
  • Facilitates Online forums
  • Development of evidence-based summaries of community-based projects

Training and Networks
CO-OPS develops and delivers an annual calendar of professional development sessions in each state and territory. In addition, CO-OPS conducts a national workshop.

Staff

The CO-OPS Secretariat
The CO-OPS Secretariat maintains the day to day running of the Collaboration, facilitates CO-OPS activities, and ensures that our deliverables under each project area are met. The Secretariat is hosted by Deakin University (Geelong Waterfront Campus) within the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention.

The CO-OPS Collaboration is governed by a Steering Committee which provides strategic direction to CO-OPS and an Advisory Committee which provides broad guidance and support. Each of these committees is made up of a combination of academics, researchers, government funders and practitioners, each with a research or project interest in community-based obesity prevention initiatives.

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