fun ‘n healthy in Moreland!

The Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program


fun man youtube...
We are building a strong understanding of how to work with schools to create healthy environments for children and families. One of the principals recently reported that, “Being involved with fun ‘n healthy in Moreland!has been invaluable for our school…When we started our involvement we had an idea of where we wanted to go, but the support and guidance we have received has been the driving force behind us actually making changes and making a positive difference to the children in our school. Parents are telling us stories: “My son now insists on having two apples after school while he is doing his homework.”; “…if schools introduce it then children will listen”; “My son now notices everything around him, is lively happy and relaxed and enjoys going to school.”

Project description

fun ‘n healthy in Moreland! is a cluster randomized controlled trial of multi-level, multi-factorial health promotion and obesity prevention strategies.
The five-year study which involved the intervention program development, 24 primary (elementary) schools, and a mixed method approach to evaluation. It was conducted as a community-research partnership between Merri Community Health Services and the Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program of the University of Melbourne in a culturally diverse area of inner urban Melbourne with areas of significant socioeconomic disadvantage
The intervention program drew on evidence based analysis of strategies which were shown to be effective in addressing multi level outcomes (policy implementation, environmental change, community awareness, change in services and individual behaviour change), combined with embedded use of the WHO Health Promoting Schools Framework, community development strategies, and a culturally competent approach. It was intended to be low cost in its implementation and sustainable in terms of longer term impact outcomes. Specific funding was not provided to schools for participation in this study, or for program activities, however assistance was given in terms of identifying and applying for other funding opportunities available to schools at the time, particularly from the Department of Education and the Department of Human Services as part of the Go for your life (GFYL) campaign. The intervention program was designed as a partnership between health and education sectors, working to the strengths and context of individual schools. A decision was made not to strongly brand the program within the schools to allow them to ‘own’ the changes and to ensure that they continued beyond the period of the study.


Project aims

This project aimed to establish healthy dietary and physical activity environments for children in the City of Moreland via school based community programs. The specific project objectives were to:


  • Increase children’s physical activity levels and reduce sedentary behaviours
  • Improve children’s dietary intake, indicated by increased consumption of fruit and vegetables and reduced inclusion of sweet drinks
  • Improve child health, wellbeing, and educational outcomes
  • Establish a sustainable program and continued environment and behaviour change beyond the program.

    boys at school...

  • Current status

    The intervention program was resourced and delivered from mid 2005 until mid 2009. Baseline data was collected in 2004/2005 and the results provided to all schools, impact evaluation was conducted in 2007 at program schools and outcome evaluation was conducted at all schools between July-December 2009.

    Project funding

    Elizabeth Waters acknowledges the support of a VicHealth Public Health Research Fellowship. Lisa Gibbs and Lisa Gold acknowledge NHMRC Capacity Building Grant for Child and Adolescent Obesity Prevention and we gratefully acknowledge the funding provided by the Victorian Government’s Community Support Fund as part of the ‘Go for your life’ Campaign.

    girl hoola hoop...


    Project team

    Professor Elizabeth Waters
    Principal Investigator
    Dr Lisa Gibbs
    Project Manager
    Ms Rosie Ashbolt
    Research Fellow, Data Management & Analysis
    Ms Coralie Mathews
    Community Development Worker
    Ms Maryanne Tadic
    Health Promotion in Schools Coordinator
    Ms Tammy Rendina
    Research Fellow
    Ms Britt Johnson
    Research Fellow
    Ms Elyse Snowdon
    Research Assistant
    Ms Melanie Saunders
    Administrative Officer
    Ms Alana Pirrone
    Research Assistant
    Ms Orla Walsh
    Research Fellow (former team member)
    Ms Shareen Nakhuda
    Community Development Worker (former team member)
    Ms Rachel Sheppard
    Community Development Worker (former team member)
    Ms Liz Moore

    Community Development Worker (former team member)

    Ms Veronika Pradel
    Community Development Worker (former team member)

    The following schools participated in the evaluation:

    Australian International Academy
    Moreland Primary School
    Belle Vue Park Primary School
    Oak Park Primary School
    Brunswick East Primary School
    Pascoe Vale South Primary School
    Brunswick North Primary School
    St Ambrose Primary School (closed during the period of the study)
    Brunswick South Primary School
    St Fidelis Primary School
    Coburg Primary School
    St Francis de Salles Primary School
    Coburg North Primary School
    St Joseph's School
    Coburg West Primary School
    St Margaret Mary's Primary School
    Corpus Christi Primary School
    St Mark's Primary School
    Fawkner Primary School
    St Matthew's Primary School
    Glenroy Primary School
    Westbreen Primary School
    Moomba Park Primary School
    Brunswick Special Development School (nested study)

    Steering Committee

    Professor Elizabeth Waters
    Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, University of Melbourne
    Dr Lisa Gibbs
    Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, University of Melbourne
    Dr Christine Armit
    Health Promotion and Research, Merri Community Health Services
    Maree Kulkens
    Health Promotion, Moreland Community Health Services (former member)
    Naomi Lind
    Student Learning Programs, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
    Toni Collins
    Public Health Branch, Department of Human Services
    Mick Coyne
    Physical Activity Unit, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Department of Planning and Community Development

    Scientific Advisory Committee

    Professor Elizabeth Waters
    Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, University of Melbourne
    Professor Boyd Swinburn
    WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Population Health Strategic Research, Deakin University 
    Ms Lisa Gold
    Deakin Health Economics, Population Health Strategic Research, Deakin University 
    Dr Tony Okely
    Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong
    Ms Kay Gibbons
    Department of Nutrition Services, Royal Children's Hospital
    Dr Lisa Gibbs
    Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, University of Melbourne
    Dr Anthea Magarey
    Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Flinders University
    Ms Thea O'Connor
    Body Image Consultant
    Dr Julie Green
    Royal Children's HospitalEducation Institute and Murdoch Children's Research Institute
    Dr Andrea Sanigorski
    Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, University of Melbourne
    Dr Obioha C. Ukoumunne
    Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital
    Professor Michael Booth
    (former investigator)
    Profesor Sing Kai Lo
    (former investigator)
    Assoc Professor Jan Garrard
    (former investigator)

    Research publications to date include the following:

    Willenberg L, Ashbolt R, Gibbs L, Holland D, Waters E, Garrard J, Green J, MacDougall C. Exploring the relationship between playground environmental characteristics, children’s perceptions and playground activity levels. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 13 (2010) 210–216

    Waters, E., Ashbolt, R., Gibbs, L., Booth, M., Magarey, A., Gold, L., Kai Lo, S., Gibbons, K., Green, J., O’Connor, T., Garrard, J., Swinburn, B. Double disadvantage: the influence of ethnicity over socioeconomic position on childhood overweight and obesity: findings from an inner urban population of primary school children. IJPO 2008;  3 (4): 196 - 204

    Gibbs L, O'Connor T, Waters E, Booth M, Walsh O, Green J, Bartlett J, Swinburn B, (2008) Addressing the potential adverse effects of school-based BMI assessments on children’s wellbeing. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity 3(1):52-57

    Moore L, Gibbs L. Considerations in the design of community-based program evaluations: purpose, resources, complexity, stage. In: Waters E, Swinburn B, Uauy R, Seidell J, eds. Preventing childhood obesity: Evidence, policy and practice. Wiley Blackwell (2010)

    Gibbs L, Abebe M, Riggs E. Working with minority groups in developed countries. In: Waters E, Swinburn B, Uauy R, Seidell J, eds. Preventing childhood obesity: Evidence, policy and practice. Wiley Blackwell (2010).

    Waters E., Gibbs L., Renzaho A., Riggs E., Kulkens M., Priest N. Increasing Cultural Competence in Public Health and Health Promotion. In Tnternational Encyclopedia of Public Health, Ed. Heggenhougen K. Elsevier Inc., Oxford UK. 2008, pp38-44

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Renzaho A, Kulkens M (2007) Moving towards increased cultural competency in public health research. In Researching with communities: Grounded perspectives on engaging communities in research. Ed. A. Williamson & R. DeSouza. London: Muddy Creek Press, pp339-355

    Conference presentations include the following:

    Gibbs L, Waters E. Learnings from ‘Fun ‘n healthy in Moreland!’ – A school community‐based child health promotion and obesity prevention trial. CO‐OPS 2009 National Workshop, Melbourne 2009

    Gibbs L. Working in culturally and linguistically diverse settings. Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne 2009 (Invited speaker)

    Gibbs L. Strengthening cultural competency in community health promotion and research. Health Consequences of Migration: Review of current evidence and implications for policy and service delivery, Melbourne Sep 2009 (invited speaker)

    Gibbs L, MacDougall C, Block K, Priest N, Prosser L, Waters E. Disasters we have had! : The importance of place when interviewing children. European Sociological Association. Lisbon Sep 2009

    Gibbs L. What have schools got to do with family health? GFYL Healthy Families Forum. Melbourne Jun 2009 (invited speaker)

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Riggs E, Abebe M. Cultural competence in community-based research. 5th Australasian Occupational Science SymposiumContextual Perspectives – Participation for wellbeing. Melbourne 2008 (invited speaker)

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Mathews C, Tadic M. Stories from the schoolyard – fun ‘n healthy in Moreland! The Kitchen Garden Classroom: Educating Children for a Healthy Future. Melbourne 2008

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Swinburn B, Honisett S. Innovative approaches to understanding community change. Community and Policy Based Obesity Prevention Interventions Symposium. Brisbane 2008

    Willenberg L, Ashbolt R, Holland D, Gibbs L, Waters E. Can easily implementable strategies be employed within the school playground to increase physical activity?  Population Health Congress. Brisbane 2008. Poster

    Willenberg L, Ashbolt R, Holland D, Gibbs L, Waters E. Can easily implementable strategies be employed within the school playground to increase physical activity?  UK Public Health Congress. Cardiff 2008. Poster

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Honisett S, Swinburn B. Mapping and monitoring the implementation of community-based child obesity prevention interventions.  UK Public Health Congress. Cardiff 2008. Poster

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Honisett S, Swinburn B. Mapping and monitoring the implementation of community-based child obesity prevention interventions.  European Congress on Obesity. Geneva, May 2008.

    Gibbs L, O'Connor T, Waters E, et al. Body Image Considerations in Child Obesity Prevention In: AUSTRALASIAN SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF OBESITY 15th Annual Scientific Meeting; 2007; Canberra, Australia

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Renzaho A, et al. Incorporating cultural competency into a public health framework. In: 38th Public Health Association of Australia Annual Conference; Alice Springs; Sep 2007.

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Leger LS, Swinburn B, Green J, Garrard J, Gold L & Booth M (2007) Underpinning obesity prevention research and intervention design with a theoretical framework. The 19th IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion and Education. Vancouver

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Renzaho A & Kulkens M (2007) Incorporating cultural competency into a public health/health promotion framework. The 19th IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion and Education. Vancouver

    Waters E, Ashbolt R, Gibbs L, Booth M, Magarey A, Gold L, Gibbons K, Lo SK & Swinburn B (2007) Child prevalence of overweight and obesity in an inner urban, culturally diverse community. The 19th IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion and Education. Vancouver

    Waters E, Moore L, Gibbs L & Murphy S (2007) Maintaining research rigour in mixed method evaluations - workshop. The 19th IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion and Education. Vancouver

    Magarey A, Tarli O C, Gibbs L. The Consumption of Fruit, Vegetables & Noncore Foods by Primary School Children in Melbourne. In: Dietitian Conference; 2007; Hobart (Nutrition & Dietetics 2007;64 (suppl 1) S30

    Gibbs L, O’Connor T, Waters E, Booth M, Green J, Swinburn B. Body Image Considerations for School-Based Child and Adolescent Obesity Prevention Research. 10th International Congress on Obesity, Sydney 2006

    Gibbs L, Baxendale A, Webber L, Waters E Methodological modifications required to conduct obesity prevention research in school settings for children with an intellectual disability. 10th International Congress on Obesity, Sydney 2006. Poster

    Garrard J, Holland D, Waters E, Gibbs L. Integrating process and impact evaluation findings: a systematic approach to understanding variability in the effectiveness of health promotion interventions in different settings.
    Community-based Obesity Prevention ICO Satellite Conference, Geelong 2006

    Waters E, Gibbs L, Lipscomb J, Walsh O, Ashbolt R, Swinburn B, Booth M, Lo K, Gold L, Gibbons K, Magarey A, Garrard J, Green J, O’Connor T. Child Overweight and Obesity Increasing at 1% Per Year: Population Data from an Inner Urban Metropolitan Cluster RCT. 10th International Congress on Obesity, Sydney 2006

    Baxendale A, Gibbs L, Webber L, Waters E. Obesity prevention issues for children with an intellectual disability – A qualitative study. Community-based Obesity Prevention ICO Satellite Conference, Geelong 2006

    Waters E, Gibbs L, Mathews C, Nakhuda S, Rachel S. Integrating knowledge translation and a community development model within the health promoting schools framework: a case study of working with schools in a school-community partnership. Community-based Obesity Prevention ICO Satellite Conference, Geelong 2006

    Gibbs L, McConell K, Waters E, Raven E. Multilevel partnerships supporting a child obesity prevention study. In: Governments and Communities in Partnership; 25-27 September; Melbourne; 2006.

    Gibbs L, Holland D, Waters E. Capturing the issues qualitatively in a mixed method environment. Cochrane Qualitative Research Methods Group Regional Symposium: Qualitative Research in Evidence-Based Healthcare - an exploration of scope and methods, Adelaide, 2006

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Lipscomb J, Walsh O, Kulkens M, . 2006. What's happening in the schoolyard? Assessing physical activity opportunities in inner urban, culturally diverse school communities. Presented at 13th Commonwealth International Sport Conference, Melbourne

    Gibbs L, Waters E, Moore L, Pradel V. 2005. Child obesity prevention community interventions: employing principles of knowledge transfer and decision making in the context of evidence and need for innovation. Presented at 4th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Amsterdam

    Walsh O, Gibbs L, Waters E. 2005. Encouraging participation in baseline data collection of a childhood obesity intervention study. Poster presented at PHAA 37th Conference, Perth

    Waters E, Love K, Williams J, Gibbs L (2004) School community consultation for a sustainable, school-community child health promotion and obesity prevention intervention. 18th World Conference on Health Promotion and Health Education, Melbourne


    For further information contact Dr Lisa Gibbs, lgibbs@unimelb.edu.au