Global Obesity Centre now longest serving WHOCC for obesity prevention

The Institute for Health Transformation’s Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE) has been re-designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention for the fifth consecutive time.

Written by Katelyn Swallow and Pauline Braniff

The Institute for Health Transformation’s Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE) is now the longest serving World Health Organization Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) for obesity prevention, with its status reconfirmed this week until April 2024.

WHOCCs are institutions designated by the Director-General to carry out activities in support of the Organization’s programmes. Currently there are over 800 WHO collaborating centres in over 80 Member States.

GLOBE has been re-designated a WHOCC for the fifth consecutive time, marking  more than 20 years of international research collaboration for the Centre that is at the forefront of the daily fight to help men, women and children lead healthier, happier lives.

Director of GLOBE, Professor Steven Allender, said the renewed status made GLOBE the longest serving WHOCC in the area of obesity prevention world-wide. The Centre was first designated as a collaborating centre in 2003.

“Research undertaken by GLOBE includes analyses of the most effective and value-for-money policies for addressing obesity, interventions in supermarkets and other food retail settings, monitoring of obesity and related risk factors, and community-based interventions,” Professor Allender said.

“This is a great achievement for GLOBE and is mirrored in our growth in research staff, fellowship winners, PhDs and project reach.”

GLOBE has more than 30 active projects worldwide.

IHT Director, Professor Anna Peeters said guidance developed by the Centre was used globally on a daily basis.

“This re-designation is recognition of GLOBE’s ongoing international impact through innovative research and empowering communities to create healthier environments to prevent diet-related disease,” Professor Peeters said.

Professor Allender said unhealthy diets and obesity were the biggest contributors to ill health in Australia.

“We know that two-thirds of Australian adults and more than one-quarter of children are overweight or obese, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

The financial cost of this ill health to the Australian economy is estimated to be $50 billion a year.

“Our research across Australia and particularly in Geelong and regional Victoria has increased our understanding of how a community response can drive the change needed to improve health outcomes,” he said.

“Over the past two decades we have seen a widespread shift in food policy in schools, sports and recreation centres and among community groups that reflects this community response.

“But there is still the need for strong government leadership on recommended actions such as a tax on sugary drinks, better food labelling and restrictions on junk food marketing to children.”

 

Parts of this article originally appeared in Deakin University’s internal publication Network and are reproduced here with permission.