PRC is involved in providing technical and research-based advice to inform public health policy and programs. This occurs in a variety of ways, including: Policy consultancy (commissioned work), submissions to policy inquiries and formal consultation processes; rapid advice to NSW Ministry of Health on specific issues; review of monitoring and other documents for NSW Ministry of Health; and technical assistance for evaluation and program development with staff from NSW Ministry of Health and health services. PRC has also developed a set of policy position papers.

Policy consultancy

Obesity Prevention in Children and Young People Aged 0-18 Years.

The purpose of this review was to outline what additional evidence had become available on childhood obesity prevention strategies. There was a particular focus on strategies that have demonstrated effectiveness and/ or show promise for intervening at a population level and/or in relevant settings in NSW. The review states that no single solution creates sufficient impact to reverse the obesity epidemic. Only a systemic, sustained, comprehensive portfolio of cumulative initiatives, delivered at scale, is likely to be effective in tackling overweight and obesity. Government leadership and policy action are key elements that enable and support the population behaviour change necessary to impact on child obesity. All policy options identified in this report are highly cost-effective from a societal perspective, and some policy options would generate revenue as well as delivering health gains. The authors suggest that all recommended policy actions identified in this report should be considered for inclusion in the intervention portfolio for the comprehensive approach required to achieve the NSW Premier’s 2025 target.
The summary report and full technical reports are available to read.

Healthy Food Environment Report

This work was conducted at the request of the Centre for Population Health at the NSW Ministry of Health, to inform implementation of the relevant strategic direction of the NSW Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Strategy 2013–2018. It is not intended to be an exhaustive review but rather to provide an indication of the rationale for intervening and the potential effectiveness of a broad range of policy options. It is also intended to inform ongoing stakeholder consultation regarding action with respect to the food environment. This consultation will necessarily take account of other evidence of effectiveness including likely reach and population impact, as well as implementation issues such as sustainability of effects, feasibility, acceptability, equity, and other factors affecting planning and investment decisions. It is noted that no single action contained within this evidence synthesis will in itself be sufficient to affect weight status substantially at the population level. A portfolio of interventions within the food environment, alongside action to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviours, is required to halt the progress of obesity and prevent chronic disease.
This review can be viewed here.

Other work

  • Review for the Sax Institute: Front-of-pack food labelling.
    This comprehensive review was conducted in 2011. (Hector D, King L, Kelly B. 2011; unpublished report)
  • Review for the Sax Institute: Community level strategies to reduce weight gain and obesity
    This review identified programs that are likely to be effective in preventing obesity when delivered at an Area Health Service level. The report summarised behaviours that have the best potential to prevent obesity in different age groups, and identifies the most promising interventions for achieving these changes in behaviours. The report also made recommendations regarding the strategies that are likely to be of most value to Area Health Services. (Gill T, King L, Hector D, Hattersley L, Farrell L, Chau J. 2007)