DYNAMIC SIMULATION MODELLING FOR GUIDING ACTION ON CHILDHOOD OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY
Vincy Li, NSW Ministry of Health
Tuesday July 18 12:00pm
The increasing prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity raises significant concerns about the effect on individuals’ health, society and the economy. Childhood overweight and obesity is a complex problem, with many inter-related causes and points for intervention. There is, however, little consensus over which interventions are likely to be most effective. The NSW Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Australian Prevention and NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, developed a dynamic simulation model to test different policy and program scenarios that will meet the NSW Premier’s target to reduce childhood overweight and obesity by 5% within 10 years.
Methods: A dynamic simulation model has been developed that captures the complexity of the childhood overweight and obesity problem in NSW, and simulates the impact of different intervention options. A participatory approach was used from May to November 2016 to engage academic and policy experts, program planners, clinicians and health economists in developing the model, drawing on research evidence, grey literature, program data, and expert knowledge.
Results: We provide an overview of the model developed and initial insights generated. The model demonstrates that it is theoretically possible to meet the target, with the optimum combination of policies and programs, reducing rates of childhood overweight and obesity to less than 16.5% across NSW. Furthermore, enhancements to current and planned population health interventions will not be sufficient to reach the target, and a broader range of cross-sectoral interventions is required.
Vincy is a Senior Evaluation Officer at the Office of Preventive Health, NSW Ministry of Health. She is working on a number of projects, using a range of different qualitative and quantitative methods and techniques to achieve different research and evaluation aims. Prior to working at the Ministry, Vincy worked as an associate lecturer in community and public health nutrition at Sydney University and also as a dietitian in private practice.