A map of community-based obesity prevention initiatives in Australia following obesity funding 2009-2013.
journal contributionposted on 2015-04-01, 00:00 authored by Jill WhelanJill Whelan, Penny LovePenny Love, A Romanus, T Pettman, Kristy BoltonKristy Bolton, E Smith, T Gill, J Coveney, E Waters, Steven AllenderSteven Allender
OBJECTIVE: Obesity is the single biggest public health threat to developed and developing economies. In concert with healthy public policy, multi-strategy, multi-level community-based initiatives appear promising in preventing obesity, with several countries trialling this approach. In Australia, multiple levels of government have funded and facilitated a range of community-based obesity prevention initiatives (CBI), heterogeneous in their funding, timing, target audience and structure. This paper aims to present a central repository of CBI operating in Australia during 2013, to facilitate knowledge exchange and shared opportunities for learning, and to guide professional development towards best practice for CBI practitioners. METHODS: A comprehensive search of government, non-government and community websites was undertaken to identify CBI in Australia in 2013. This was supplemented with data drawn from available reports, personal communication and key informant interviews. The data was translated into an interactive map for use by preventive health practitioners and other parties. RESULTS: We identified 259 CBI; with the majority (84%) having a dual focus on physical activity and healthy eating. Few initiatives, (n=37) adopted a four-pronged multi-strategy approach implementing policy, built environment, social marketing and/or partnership building. CONCLUSION: This comprehensive overview of Australian CBI has the potential to facilitate engagement and collaboration through knowledge exchange and information sharing amongst CBI practitioners, funders, communities and researchers. IMPLICATIONS: An enhanced understanding of current practice highlights areas of strengths and opportunities for improvement to maximise the impact of obesity prevention initiatives.