RESPOND (Reflexive Evidence and Systems interventions to Prevent Obesity and Non-communicable Disease) is an NHRMC funded Partnership Project Grant from 2018 to 2023, led by Professor Steve Allender.
Encompassing ten Local Government Authorities, 14 health services and 116 schools, reaching more than 30,000 children, this application builds on a 15-year history of working in partnership with regional Victorian communities to deliver community-led obesity prevention initiatives. The CI team and partners have co-developed and demonstrated a cutting edge approach to support communities in successfully addressing the complex drivers of childhood obesity in small trials, with pilot sites in Shepparton and Moira. This includes the training of people in community health, education and lay members to apply methods from ‘systems science’ to the prevention of obesity and establishment of a low cost childhood obesity monitoring system.
Along with partners the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education and Training and primary care partnerships, the project will embed best practice for obesity prevention into existing community systems across regional Victoria, to achieve significant long-term impacts on policy, practice, and child health at scale. It will also conduct the first stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial of whole of system childhood obesity prevention approach at scale in Northern Victoria.
To assess effectiveness, the anthropometric and behavioural monitoring system will expand across the entire Ovens Murray and Goulburn region of Victoria. This data from primary school children will be underpinned by routine measurements collected by maternal and child health services in early childhood, providing up to ten height and weight measures (longitudinally) for each child from age birth to 3.5 years over the past ten years, comprising 225,000 data points.
“RESPOND will drive positive and practical changes from the ground up, supporting the communities to become world leaders in promoting healthy weight among children. Whether it be determining the way organisations allocate funding, removing sugar-sweetened beverages from community facilities, or establishing a childhood obesity monitoring system, the initiatives will be led by the community.”
Professor Steven Allender