Australians are living in the midst of a shocking epidemic and if something isn’t done soon this generation of children will have shorter lifespans than their parents. The epidemic is preventable. It’s childhood obesity.
Two pilots of ChooseHealth, a community-led childhood obesity prevention programme created by Deakin University, have shown that the epidemic can be arrested. However, with more than 40% of Australian school-age children either overweight or obese, Deakin recognized that to get ahead of the problem, the programme would need to be scaled quickly.
Building from an immersion into the ChooseHealth workshops and in-depth conversations with the community health coordinators and leaders involved in the pilots, Craig Walker worked with Deakin to design an end-to-end launch model for ChooseHealth. The model can be adapted to the needs of individual communities and incorporates tools to maintain the community momentum necessary to see results.
The launch model includes a prototype of online training for community health organisations. Online training was the expectation of the original brief from Deakin; however, Craig Walker found in early investigations that training alone would not be enough to scale the program successfully. Local health organisers made it clear that they also need Deakin’s help to sell in ChooseHealth to their communities and to explain how its systems thinking approach makes it more successful than other programmes, as well as tools and ongoing support to engage and motivate their communities over the long-term.