Global obesity

Obesity Prevention

The Global obesity research stream in Obesity Prevention prioritises prevention research and evaluation in low and middle-income countries and research into global influences on obesity, such as the marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages. It also leads and manages our World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention was established at Deakin University in 2003. Its terms of reference are to:

  • support WHO to provide expert advice to Member States on developing, advocating for, implementing and evaluating system-based strategies for complex problems like obesity as requested and/or agreed with WHO
  • support WHO to provide technical support to Member States with population-level research (target setting, guideline and indicator development, cost effectiveness analysis, monitoring and surveillance, evaluation) on obesity as requested and/or agreed with WHO
  • assist WHO to strengthen the skills of professionals and academics in the science of obesity prevention and in promoting healthy eating and physical activity through the life-course as requested and/or agreed with WHO

Our WHO Collaborating Centre leaders are Professor Steve Allender, Professor Colin Bell and Associate Professor Gary Sacks.

WHO Responsible Officers are Dr Juliawati Untoro, Western Pacific Regional Office, Manila, Philippines and Dr Chrizuru Nishida, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland

  • Food-related policy and prevention of non-communicable disease in the Pacific

    We’re contributing to a five-year implementation science research project titled ‘Scaling up food policy interventions to reduce non-communicable diseases in the Pacific’. The project is focused on Fiji, and led locally by C-POND at Fiji National University with support from the ongoing strategic collaboration with other leading academic institutions working in the Pacific – The George Institute for Global Health (TGI) and The Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney (Menzies). Interventions will also be supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), WHO and the Pacific Community (SPC). The research evaluates the impact and process of implementation of effective food-related policies to prevent diabetes and hypertension.

  • Defining healthy foods and reducing marketing pressure on children and families

    In partnership with WHO, we are developing tools to help low and middle income countries make decisions about what is healthy and what is not when it comes to food and to measure the power and exposure of marketing to children.

  • Promoting healthy islands

    We regularly assist WHO with the Healthy Islands Best Practice and Best Proposal Recognition Awards.

  • Other activities

    We have assisted WHO with non-communicable disease (NCD) planning in Brunei, contributing to the Second National Multisectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in Brunei Darussalam (2020 –2025) (BruMAP-NCD 2.0) and with a cost of NCDs study in the Cook Islands. We are embarking on work determining the direct healthcare costs of NCDs in Malaysia and, in conjunction with VicHealth and UNICEF, work on food retail in Asia.

  • Collaborations and partnerships