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The Barwon-South Western region of Victoria has been involved in supporting and evaluating three community-based projects:
These studies have clearly shown, for the first time, that overweight and obesity can be reduced in pre-schoolers, children and adolescents within three years using a community capacity building approach. The interventions also reduce inequalities and are safe.
Findings from these community-based projects have been translated into several state programs as well as an NHMRC-funded project to test the sustainability of the original intervention. Six Victorian communities have participated in the Being, Active Eating Well community demonstration projects, which build on the success of programs such as Be Active, Eat Well and help empower communities manage overweight and obesity by developing their own behaviour change solutions
Be Active Eat Well (BAEW) was a 3-year (2003-2006) community-wide childhood obesity prevention demonstration program in Colac which successfully reduced unhealthy weight gain in children aged 4-12 years compared to the rest of the Barwon-South Western Region of Victoria. A follow-up assessment was conducted in 2009 which asked the following questions:
Findings from the Be Active Eat Well Three-year Follow-up Report are available here
Our work with community-based prevention also led to the establishment of the Collaboration of Community-based Obesity Prevention Sites (CO-OPS Collaboration), 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.