Sentinel Site for Obesity Prevention Report 6: Lessons learned from Colac’s ‘Be Active Eat Well’ project (2002-2006)
The Sentinel Site for Obesity Prevention series of reports contain the baseline findings from the three large community-based obesity prevention demonstration projects conducted in the Barwon South-West region of Victoria: Romp & Chomp (Geelong, 0 to 5 year old children), Be Active Eat Well (Colac, 4 to 12 year olds) and It's Your Move (East Geelong / Bellarine, 12 to 18 year olds).
Report 6 presents the findings from the Colac Be Active Eat Well (BAEW) project and highlights the lessons learned from community efforts to improve healthy eating and physical activity patterns and prevent unhealthy weight gain in children. BAEW was the first project within the Sentinel Site. The project was funded for 4 years and aimed to promote healthy eating and physical activity behaviours and reduce unhealthy weight gain in children aged 4-12 years in the rural Australian town of Colac. It used a multi-setting, multi-strategy approach and was based on community capacity building principles.
Important findings in the report include the successful impact of the program in reducing unhealthy increases in children's weight and waist measurement. It clearly improved community capacity to promote healthy eating and physical activity and demonstrated that the interventions can reduce unhealthy weight gain, slowing down the obesity epidemic. Importantly, there was no evidence of harm and very strong evidence that the program reduced inequalities by reducing the SES gradient with body weight. Changes were found in some, but not all, of the expected mediators (awareness of key messages and changes in attitudes, knowledge and behaviour).
This comprehensive report provides valuable information for others interested in conducting community-based obesity prevention initiatives, including lessons learned in relation to all aspects of the program, from project establishment, through implementation of the action plan to comprehensive evaluation.
How to access this resource:
The report is available to download from the professionals' section of the 'Go for Your Life' website, via the following link:
Sentinel Site for Obesity Prevention Reports
The following evaluation tools were used to collect some of the data contained in this report:
Primary School Environment Audit
Parent Survey - Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (parents of primary school children)
School Food Checklist
Community Capacity Index