Obesity prevention

Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition

We were first established as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention in 2003 and continue to have a major focus on obesity prevention through our research and advocacy. We have close links to governments, other research groups and a diverse range of collaborators globally in obesity prevention and population nutrition.

Our research in obesity prevention aims to improve the policy response to obesity and unhealthy diets, and to understand how the development and implementation of these policies can be enhanced.

We have a strong commitment to ensuring that our research findings are communicated widely and are used to inform policy and practice. We regularly contribute to WHO reports and consultations on obesity prevention. We also partner closely with the Obesity Policy Coalition and other public health organisations.

Our research focuses on:

  • building evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions for obesity prevention
  • understanding influences on policy development processes
  • mechanisms for increasing the accountability of governments and food companies.
  • Food Policy Index for Australia

    This ongoing initiative (since 2016) benchmarks the obesity prevention policies of Australian state/territory and federal governments. The project implements the Health Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) tool that the International Network for Food and Obesity/Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS)  has developed to assess government policy across 14 action areas relating to food environments. The original scorecards for each government were launched in 2017, followed by a progress update in 2019. The next assessment will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022.

  • Evidence for obesity prevention

    GLOBE researchers were commissioned in 2019 to lead the primary evidence review that underpinned the development of the National Obesity Strategy. The evidence review focused on the effectiveness of policy interventions for addressing obesity, and directly informed the strategies included as part of the National Obesity Strategy released in 2022.

  • Inside our food companies

    This initiative assesses the largest Australian food companies on their polices and commitments related to obesity prevention and nutrition, across 3 major food industry sectors: supermarkets, food and beverage manufacturers, and quick service restaurants. The project used the BIA-Obesity tool developed by INFORMAS to assess company policies across 6 key action areas, including marketing to children, product formulation and nutrition labelling. The objective was to highlight where Australian food companies were demonstrating progress in relation to obesity prevention and nutrition, and to identify priority recommendations at both the company and sector level. This project was awarded the prestigious VicHealth ‘Research into Action’ Award in 2018.