Medical Journal of Malaysia

MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015

Best practice principles for community wide obesity prevention

Colin Bell, Jill Whelan, Penny Love, Claudia Strugnell, Lynne Millar, Steve Allender.

WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.


Obesity is epidemic and a major contributor to global cardiovascular, diabetes, chronic respiratory and cancer-related deaths. These diseases are overwhelming health systems and slowing economic progress through their impact on the labour supply and productivity, particularly in developing economies.

Prevention is the most attractive and cost effective solution to this complex problem and communities are the ideal level of society to target because they have the means, motive and opportunity to affect change. There is growing evidence that community wide obesity prevention is effective, particularly among children. What is still to be discovered is how to achieve long term change, such that obesity prevalence remains low, and how to scale-up prevention so that healthy weight becomes the norm across communities and countries.

The World Health Organization Collaborating Centre at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia has over ten years of experience supporting and evaluating successful community based interventions nationally and internationally and this presentation will draw this experience into a set of best practice principles. It will also outline our systems thinking and collective impact approaches to obesity prevention that puts our work at the leading edge of prevention science.