Preventing childhood obesity

29 August 2013

International partnership will enhance existing interventions, says Steven Allender.

The World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University, in collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, Tufts University and Washington University in St Louis, has been awarded $3m in funding from the US National Institutes of Health,

The funding, to run from 2013 to 2018, is aimed at advancing childhood obesity prevention using a broad systems perspective.

"The project will develop and test models for system intervention in whole-of-community early childhood obesity prevention programs in the US and Australia," said Professor Steven Allender, co-director of the Centre.

"The funding will enhance existing obesity prevention interventions and create a flexible systems science model with wide applicability to aid future efforts.

"The impact of this project lies in the potential to inform new and sustainable strategies to reduce the burden of childhood obesity and its consequences in Australia, the US and further abroad."

Professor Catherine Bennett, the head of the School of Health and Social Development congratulated Professor Allender and Professor Boyd Swinburne and their team on the funding result.

"I am pleased and proud to announce this funding," she said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention was established in 2003 as part of Deakin University's Faculty of Health.

Along with four other research groups it now forms the Deakin Population Health Strategic Research Centre.

WHO Collaborating Centres are institutions designated by the Director-General of WHO to form an inter-institutional collaborative network to support WHO in its programs at the country, inter-country, regional, interregional and global levels. WHO Collaborating Centres must also participate in strengthening country resources - through information, services, research and training, in support of national health development.

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention works to realise the following objectives:

  • To undertake research and build research capacity in all aspects of obesity prevention
  • To train and educate professionals and academics in the science and art of obesity prevention
  • To support WHO and Member States (especially in the Western Pacific Region) in the development, advocacy, implementation and evaluation of population-based strategies for obesity prevention
  • To provide expert advice to WHO and Member States on obesity-related matters and support for WHO and other key institutions to increase the capacity and capabilities of people in the Region (especially in the Pacific) in obesity prevention.

There are five major, overlapping areas of research carried out by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention:

  1. Community-based Prevention
  2. C-POND (Pacific Projects)
  3. Socio-cultural Studies
  4. Health Economics of Obesity
  5. Food Policy

Professor Allender's research has also been recognised in the Medicines and Medicinal Sciences section of  the latest Scopus Awards.

On October 22, Professor Allender will be presenting the Peter Quail Oration 2013.

Time 4.00 to 5.00 pm
Venue Percy Baxter Lecture Theatre, Deakin University
Geelong Waterfront Campus
(Costa Hall entry off Gheringhap St)
RSVP Christopher Loughnan Email:

Professor Steven Allender Professor Steven Allender

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