Informing the NSW Premier’s Priority on childhood overweight and obesity

Project title: System dynamics modelling to inform strategic planning for achieving the NSW Premier’s target for reducing childhood overweight and obesity

Project lead: Associate Professor Jo-An Atkinson, The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre

Associate Professor Jo-An Atkinson

20 March 2017

A dynamic simulation modelling tool developed in partnership between the Prevention Centre and policy makers is being used to inform the NSW Premier’s Priority on childhood overweight and obesity.

The Prevention Centre, in partnership with NSW Health, developed a computer model to forecast which combinations of policies and programs would be needed to achieve the Premier’s target of reducing childhood overweight and obesity by 5% within 10 years.

The project brought together modelling experts with academics, policy experts and practitioners in a series of workshops to map the interaction of complex factors leading to childhood overweight and obesity in NSW.

The initial model framework was then quantified using research evidence and a number of data sets to create a computer model that provides  a low-cost, low-risk way for policy makers to test the likely impact of decisions before they are implemented in the real world.

As a result, a range of policy makers have used the model to explore policy options for reducing childhood overweight and obesity in NSW.

The success of the project was largely due to its participatory process, which led to a high degree of engagement and confidence in the model.

“The participatory model building process really helps us to draw together the relevant perspectives, data and evidence in a way that is most useful to our policy partners,” said Dr Atkinson.

This project follows another Prevention Centre project that successfully applied these methods to explore policy options for reducing alcohol-related harms in NSW.

READ MORE: About dynamic simulation modelling; Findings brief