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Open Access Correspondence

The development of a network for community-based obesity prevention: the CO-OPS Collaboration

Steven Allender12*, Melanie Nichols1, Chad Foulkes1, Rebecca Reynolds1, Elizabeth Waters3, Lesley King4, Tim Gill4, Rebecca Armstrong3 and Boyd Swinburn1

Author Affiliations

1 World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia

2 British Heart Foundation Research Group, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

3 The McCaughey Centre, Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

4 Prevention Research Collaboration, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:132  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-132

Published: 24 February 2011

Abstract

Background

Community-based interventions are a promising approach and an important component of a comprehensive response to obesity. In this paper we describe the Collaboration of

    CO
mmunity-based
    O
besity
    P
revention
    S
ites (CO-OPS Collaboration) in Australia as an example of a collaborative network to enhance the quality and quantity of obesity prevention action at the community level. The core aims of the CO-OPS Collaboration are to: identify and analyse the lessons learned from a range of community-based initiatives aimed at tackling obesity, and; to identify the elements that make community-based obesity prevention initiatives successful and share the knowledge gained with other communities.

Methods

Key activities of the collaboration to date have included the development of a set of Best Practice Principles and knowledge translation and exchange activities to promote the application (or use) of evidence, evaluation and analysis in practice.

Results

The establishment of the CO-OPS Collaboration is a significant step toward strengthening action in this area, by bringing together research, practice and policy expertise to promote best practice, high quality evaluation and knowledge translation and exchange. Future development of the network should include facilitation of further evidence generation and translation drawing from process, impact and outcome evaluation of existing community-based interventions.

Conclusions

The lessons presented in this paper may help other networks like CO-OPS as they emerge around the globe. It is important that networks integrate with each other and share the experience of creating these networks.