Understanding the Problem
Discuss about the Obesity Prevention In City of Ballarat Australia.
Physical inactivity is a modifiable risk factor for obesity, as indicated by a large pool of literature. A sedentary lifestyle is becoming a common factor affecting thousands of communities across the globe, including that of Australia. Such lifestyle leads to a rapid rise of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes due to obesity. As per the reports of World Health Organisation, physical inactivity has severe implications for individual’s health (1). The Victorian Burden of Disease Study had identified physical inactivity to be a major contributor to the burden of different diseases in the Victorian city of Ballarat. Studies had reported that around 34.4% of the adult population had an inactive lifestyle (2). As per the Victorian Population Health Survey 2008 conducted at City of Ballarat, only 58.6% of females and 65.5% of males in the city were able to meet the guidelines for physical inactivity (3). Further, the Ballarat LGA profile from VicHealth Indicators Survey 2015 indicated that in comparison to all Victorians, a smaller proportion of residents of Ballarat engaged in physical activity in a week (4). The present paper aims to apply the Best Practice Principles for Obesity Prevention in the form of promotion of physical activities to reduce the burden of obesity in City of Ballarat, Australia.
The regional capital of Victoria is the City of Ballarat that is situated around 110 km west of the city of Melbourne. Being the largest inland centre of Victoria, the city has a population of 101,686 of which 52,821 are female, and 48,864 are male (5). The age distribution is similar to that of the rest of the country (6). The city has a high proportion of single-parent families as compared to rest of Australia.The number of aboriginal people in the city is 1140, and their median age is 20 years.
Obesity is a major health issue faced by the individuals of this city wherein 61 people out of 100 are suffering from obesity (4). As per recent surveys, the concern of obesity in Ballarat is in the list of top ten unhealthiest areas in the whole of Australia.One of the main risk factors for obesity is physical inactivity of the residents of the city that in turn leads to health complications such as cardiovascular disease. Victorian population health survey 2011 had estimated that 30% of male and 31% of females residents did not engage in sufficient physical activity. The risk of obesity is more common among adolescents in this region (5).
Population Characteristics of the City of Ballarat
The wider community’s elements are to be engaged in the proposed initiative. A partnership and collaborative approach would be undertaken with all levels of the government, government agencies, the community and the private sector so that the provision, planning and implementation of the environment enabling physical activity are desirable.
Significant growth of urban areas in the city implies that there are more demands for services and infrastructure that can support the physical activity of the individuals of the community. Increased urbanisation has led to the high demand for unit-style accommodation, and there is less public open space, making it considerably difficult for the residents of cities to engage in some form of activity and live an active lifestyle. Since the risk of obesity is more common among the adolescent population, the present program would be focusing on this group of the population. By addressing the concerns of the adolescents, the increasing burden of obesity can be controlled to a great extent (7).
The provision of delivery of services of physical activity would be guided by a set of principles. These are as follows-
- Making physical ativity easy
- Using appropriate settings
- Improving access, diversity and equity
- Providing strong maintenance and management
- Addressing the determinants of physical inactivity
- Developing partnerships
- Building participation
The program would be a comprehensive and multi-strategy approach with the aim of increasing the levels of physical activity within the community. The vision is to provide all residents of the city of Ballarat with the opportunity to engage in a lifestyle from which they can benefit optimally. The goal would be to increase the number of residents of the city meeting the recommendations of WHO regarding physical activity by the year 2020. The objectives of the program and the corresponding strategies are outlined as follows-
Objective1- The first objective would be to encourage to be physically active. The rationale behind this objective is that ensuring that the individuals in a community understand the significance of being physically active is critical for increasing the levels of physical activity. The objective would be to motivate the adolescent's population to incorporate any form of physical activity in their lives within six months. Easy-to-understand and targeted information would be imparted in this regard so that all individuals can connect to the education being imparted.
Strategies for Objective1- The prime strategy would be to conduct social marketing campaigns for motivating and encouraging individuals to engage in some form of activity. The social media tools would be of much importance in this regard. Platforms such as Youtube and Facebook are to be explored apart from television and newspapers. Initiative for offering rewards for participation in activities such as walking and cycling would be highly motivating. This would also boost the morale of the individuals. Cycling competitions would be the best possible approach in this regard.
Risk Factors for Obesity in the City of Ballarat
Objective 2- The second objective would be to establish places and spaces in the community that is in support of active living. As recommended by a number of public health literature, an environment is to be built that contributes to the propensity of an individual to have an active lifestyle and ensure achievement of better health outcomes. With the help of the city council, it would be possible to make an influence on the activities of land use and development so that liveable and healthy environment is created encouraging physical activity. The objective would be to create additional spaces for engaging in physical activities in the next one year.
Strategies for Objective2-Firstly, the city planning scheme would be driven to include principles of physical activity design. The central business areas would not be included in this consideration. It would be ensured that the planning activities are in accordance with the best knowledge of open space design. Advocacy of transport systems and policies would be important for prioritising walking and cycling. An audit of the different public infrastructures like water points and toilets would be done for identifying gaps in supporting continual physical activity and future needs. A hierarchy system introduced into the cycling and walking pathways would also be beneficial. Lastly, crime prevention would be looked into with the help of the concerned department.
Objective 3-The third objective would be to work with diverse community-based systems for increasing the awareness of the public regarding the benefits physical activity. A mix of opportunities is to be provided in order to cater for different age groups. Barriers to participation in physical activities are to be addressed through this. The approach would be to implement different strategies simultaneously with the help of different organisations, such as workplaces, schools, primary health care settings, and sports club. The objective would be to improve the wellbeing of the community in the next two years.
Strategies for Objective 3- A structured approach would be developed for evaluating the public health data. Analysis of physical activity rates would help in identifying trends and gaps. Outreach programs are to be developed that target members of the community who have limited access to centre-based programs. Urban Landcare network is to be contacted for offering workplace open space program. Working with child and maternal health services, schools for embedding an enhanced understanding of the importance of physical activity in children would be highly solicited (8).
Best Practice Principles for Obesity Prevention
The primary evaluation goal would be to ensure that the program outcomes is relevant due to the proper integration of resources into the outlined strategies. Process evaluation would focus on assessing data collected at present and in future. An integrated outcome evaluation would be undertaken by taking feedbacks from the individuals of the community at large. Process evaluation would consider three elements; management of the program; collaboration and participation. Program management would be monitored in a manner in which the program staff and all contributors would come up with their recommendations and viewpoints. Participation would be examined through measures of involvement in programs and attendance. Collaboration would be assessed through the level of effort and amount of interaction. Outcome evaluation would be done by collecting subjective and objective data from the individuals that would be rigorously assessed. Data would be collected on a quarterly basis, and different settings would be considered for this purpose, such as schools, sports clubs and healthcare settings (9).
In the implementation phase, it would be significant to hold meetings for facilitating the selection of the communities that would undertake the overall process. The priority activities would be selected based on different criteria, depending on demographic data collected over a long period of time. As the plan would be implemented, efforts for evaluation would be critical for monitoring the actual impact and leveraging the resources as deemed required. For achievement of the mission, the partners would need to work hand-in-hand and in an effective manner towards the goal.
Sustainability of the plan is a key concern. The plan outlined at present is based on the current data available. It would be necessary and indispensable to revise the strategies whenever required. A survey tool is to be used for collecting information on additional organisations that can be made a part of the plan in coming time. Moving onto the implementation phase from the planning phase would open the door to broader participation in obesity-prevention exertions (10).
The city council would play the primary role in supporting the outlined initiative and enabling a connected, vibrant and healthy community. This would be done through a funding environment encouraging an active lifestyle and well-being. A coordinated and proactive approach would be imperative in this regard so that planning of the strategies would be done under effective conditions. Funding and allocation would be required in the following domains-
- Planning to implant support of physical activity
- Supporting partnerships with a number of external agencies for maximising outcomes
- Supporting initial costs for resources and infrastructures required for proposed actions
- Providing community grants for delivery of activities
- Providing costs for managing and maintaining suitable and safe community spaces
The possible other sources of funding would be the public open space contributions, the Victorian and Australian government funding programs, and developer contributions (9).
Objective 1 - Encouraging Physical Activity
Program design and planning
Implementation and sustainability
Funding and governance
Local and state goventment
Guidelines of WHO for physical activity
Adoption of policies
National policy on physical activities
State government funds
Primary health care services, out-reached services
Social marketing, education programs
Questionnaires and interviews
Physical activity friendly zones
Social media advertisements and television advertisements
Follow-up through direct communication
Companies given funds for developing open spaces
Community funds and developer funds
Engagement in community
Assessment through questionnaire
City council of Ballarat
Guidelines of WHO
A growing body of vast evidence supports physical activity done on a regular manner as there are numerous positive benefits of the same for human health. The impact include reduction of chances of developing medical complications such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular dynfuctioning. Since the benefits of physical activity have been identified in a clear manner, the proposed interventions would help in establishing conenctions within the city of Ballarat, enhancing the energy levels of indviduals and augmenting confidence and self-esteem. With the benefits in mind, the outlined strategies would encourage the residents to be more active. Individuals might not need to engage in strenuous physical activities to stay fit; exercise of moderate intensity would bebeneficial. The people of city of Ballarat would gain advantages from the outlined interventions regarding control of obesityamong the population. Support from every corner of the community is pivotal since the engagement of public and health professionals are equally important. The council would play a key role in this regard for promoting, facilitating and encouraging physical activity through major stratecgic planning with community initiatives. The vision is clear; to enable all the residents live in a healthy manner by providing them with adequate opportunities.
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I would like to highlight that I have learnt while working in a small online group about the importance of communicating well with the group members. Since individuals in a group are from diverse backgrounds and have different thoughts and opinions, it is common to encounter a clash of ideas and viewpoints. The key is to communicate own point of view in a clear and transparent manner. This would foster a professional relationship.
One skill that I have developed while undertaking this assignment is academic writing. Completing this assignment enabled me to compose an academic paper in a more professional manner with adherence to the guidelines provided. I have developed the skill to put down a paper that is comprehensive and well-structured.
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- City of Ballarat. Council Plan 2017-2021. City of Ballarat [Internet]. Date unknown [cited 2017 Aug 5]. Available from: https://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/media/4278140/council_plan_2017-2021.pdf
- Rosen G. A history of public health. JHU Press; 2015 Jan 16.
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