RESPOND

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.

Challenge

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.

Solution

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.

Impact

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.

Partners

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

Victorian Department of Education and Training

VicHealth

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

RESPOND Region

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 is collected biennially (2019, 2022- COVID delay- and 2024) from Grade 2, 4 and 6 students examining changes in children’s healthy 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)

Regional Data Reports

Read the RESPOND 2019 Regional Report.

Update (2022)

RESPOND has been largely impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires and COVID-19. As a result, The Pause and Reflect Study has been conducted to capture and understand these impacts. The project also plans to be extended an extra year, with anticipated finish date being November 2024. This year (2022) the second round of data collection/monitoring is taking place along with the recruitment of Step 2 communities.

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

Contact

contact@respond.deakin.edu.au