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Geelong has been recognised as one of 14 municipalities to be included in the Prevention Community Model, as announced by Minister for Health and Ageing, The Hon David Davis.
The model will involve more than 1.3 million people, 520 schools and 938 early childhood services and 1,500 businesses in an effort to turn around unhealthy lifestyles.
Detailed demographic and health data as derived from the Victorian Population Health Survey will be used to tailor programs to address health issues in each community.
Commenting on Geelong’s selection for the program, WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention Director, Professor Boyd Swinburn said the funding will provide a substantial lift for the region “It represents a substantial amount and really boosts Geelong’s efforts” said Professor Swinburn to the Geelong Independent.
Geelong has a strong history of community-based obesity prevention programs. The Barwon-South West region has been involved in three community based projects: Romp and Comp; It’s your move; and Be Active Eat well.
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.
The WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity 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.
In addition to Geelong, the areas of Ararat, Dandenong, Hume, Knox, Latrobe, Mildura, Pyrenees, Whittlesea, Wodonga, Wyndham, Cardinia, Central Goldfields and Bendigo have been selected to participate in the program.
More information about the Prevention Community Model can be found on the Victorian Department of Health website.