Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition

RESPOND (Reflexive Evidence and Systems interventions to Prevent Obesity and Non-communicable Disease) is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded Partnership Project Grant from 2018 to 2023 (5 years), led by Professor Steve Allender.

RESPOND is a shared community approach to healthy children.


Childhood obesity is a complex health issue influenced by a range of social, economic, and environmental variables, and which needs a collaborative, community-led approach to address. This study aims to use systems science methods to guide planning and implementation and accelerate uptake efforts to prevent childhood obesity at regional scale, and evaluate the impact of community- led systems intervention to address childhood weight status and related behaviours.


Train people in community health, education and lay members to apply methods from systems science to child health and wellbeing; empower community to lead change for the benefit of their children’s health and wellbeing; and establishment of a low- cost child health and wellbeing monitoring system.


The project hopes to embed best practice for child health and wellbeing into existing community systems across regional Victoria, to achieve significant long-term impacts on policy, practice, and child health at scale. It also conducts the first stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial of whole of system childhood health and wellbeing approach at scale in North East Victoria.


Victorian Department of Health (formally Department of Health and Human Services)

Victorian Department of Education and Training


Former Primary Care Partnerships (Goulburn Valley, Lower Hume, Central Hume, Upper Hume)

Gateway Health

Beechworth Health Service

NCN Health (formally Numurkah District Health Service

Yarrawonga Health

Greater Shepparton City Council

Murrindindi Shire Council

Goulburn Valley Health

Primary Care Connect

Moira Shire Council

Nexus Primary Health

Seymour Health

Alexandra District Health

Yea & District Memorial Hospital

Mitchell Shire Council

Mansfield District Hospital

Mansfield Shire Council

Indigo North Health

Indigo Shire Council

Rural City of Wangaratta Council

The Centre for Continuing Education

Goulburn Valley Public Health Unit

Alpine Health

Benalla Health

Benalla Rural City Council


RESPOND Protocol

Associations between School Food Environments, Body Mass Index and Dietary Intakes among Regional School Students in Victoria, Australia: A Cross-Sectional Study

Dietary and Activity Factors Influence Poor Sleep and the Sleep-Obesity Nexus among Children

Associations between combined overweight and obesity, lifestyle behavioural risk and quality of life among Australian regional school children: baseline findings of the Goulburn Valley health behaviours monitoring study

A Theory of Change for Community-Based Systems Interventions to Prevent Obesity

Is the physical activity environment surrounding primary schools associated with students’ weight status, physical activity or active transport, in regional areas of Victoria, Australia? A cross-sectional study

The Impact of COVID-19 on Rural Food Supply and Demand in Australia: Utilising Group Model Building to Identify Retailer and Customer Perspectives

Association between the school physical activity environment, measured and self-reported student physical activity and active transport behaviours in Victoria, Australia

Healthy weight, health behaviours and quality of life among Aboriginal children living in regional Victoria

Lived experience of participants who engaged in the co-creation of initiatives to improve children's health in a rural Australian community

Perceived impacts of COVID-19 and bushfires on the implementation of an obesity prevention trial in Northeast Victoria, Australia | PLOS ONE

Understanding weight status and dietary intakes among Australian school children by remoteness: a cross-sectional study


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  health promotion/ prevention initiatives. The Chief Investigator team and partners have co-developed and demonstrated a cutting- edge approach to support communities in successfully addressing the complex drivers of childhood health and wellbeing in small trials, with pilot sites in Greater 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 health and wellbeing monitoring system.

To assess effectiveness, the anthropometric and behavioural monitoring system expands the entire Ovens Murray and Goulburn Valley regions of Victoria. Data was collected in 2019 and again in 2022 from Grade 2, 4 and 6 students examining changes in children’s weight and health behaviours across four domains: food and drink consumption, physical activity and screen time, sleep and wellbeing, and healthy weight.

RESPOND in brief 

Watch our brief RESPOND explainer video (03:12)


RESPOND Regional Health Behaviours Monitoring Report 2019-2022

Read the RESPOND Regional Childhood Health Behaviours and Anthropometry Report (2019-2022).

Regional Data Reports

Read the 2019 RESPOND regional Childhood Health Behaviours and Anthropometry Report.

See what is happening locally:

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