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Pac Health Dialog. 2007 Sep;14(2):139-46.

The Pacific OPIC Project (Obesity Prevention in Communities) -- objectives and designs.

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School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia.



Evidence on how to reduce the increasing prevalence of youth obesity is urgently needed in many countries. The Pacific OPIC Project (Obesity Prevention In Communities) is a series of linked studies in four countries (Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia) which is designed to address this important problem.


The studies aim to: 1) determine the overall impact of comprehensive, community-based intervention programs on overweight/obesity prevalence in youth; 2) assess the feasibility of the specific intervention components and their impacts on eating and physical activity patterns; 3) understand the socio-cultural factors that promote obesity and how they can be influenced; 4) identify the effects of food-related policies in Fiji and Tonga and how they might be changed; 5) estimate the overall burden of childhood obesity (including loss of quality of life); 6) estimate the costs (and cost-effectiveness) of the intervention programs, and; 7) increase the capacity for obesity prevention research and action in Pacific populations.


The community studies use quasi-experimental designs with impact and outcome assessments being measured in over 14,000 youth across the intervention and control communities in the four sites. The multi-strategy, multi-setting interventions will run for 3 years before final follow up data are collected in 2008. The interventions are being informed by socio-cultural studies that will determine the family and societal influences on food intake, physical activity and body size perception. PROGRESS AND CONCLUSIONS: Baseline studies have been completed and interventions are underway. Despite the many challenges in implementing and evaluating community-based interventions, especially in the Pacific, the OPIC Project will provide rich evidence about what works and what does not work for obesity prevention in youth from European and Pacific backgrounds.

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