What is OPAL?
OPAL is a healthy lifestyle initiative that aims to improve the eating and activity patterns of children through working with families and the community as a whole, to increase the proportion of children 0-18 years in the healthy weight range.
It is a five year program and will be in the community from November 2011 to September 2016. The program services the whole of the District Council of Mount Remarkable, Northern Areas Council and District Council of Peterborough areas and will make a genuine difference to the health of individuals and families by becoming a part of community life/ Building on the European success story of EPODE. OPAL will work with a range of people and organisations to positively change attitudes and behaviours about healthy eating and physical activity.
A tale of two French towns
When the two French towns of Fleurbaix and Laventie showed that a whole of community approach could have a major impact on turning around childhood obesity, South Australia was ready to know more.
The French program called EPODE (translated as 'together we can prevent childhood obesity') found that childhood obesity in the two pilot towns did not increase, while in two comparison towns where there was no whole of community lifestyle program, obesity levels doubled.
Children in the EPODE towns also had a better knowledge of nutrition, had made major changes to their eating habits and had increased their physical activity.
The French approach found that the key to success was involving the whole community - families, local GP's, pharmacists, shop owners, local government, sports and cultural associations, as well as schools.
The need for OPAL in South Australia
One in five 4-year old children in South Australia is overweight or obese. Being overweight can affect the emotional and social well-being of children. Overweight children are very likely to become overweight adults, with a greatly increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health problems
OPAL Mid North
Every twelve months there will be a new OPAL theme with a specific health message. We will provide tools to help schools, sports and recreation clubs, health services, government agencies and private enterprise to get involved and develop activities around the theme message.
OPAL is supported by Mayor Sandra Wauchope, Mayor Denis Clark, Mayor Ruth Whittle, the District Council of Mount Remarkable, Northern Areas Council and District Council of Peterborough, as well as the State Governments.
Meet the team
OPAL Project Support Officer
Phone: 0488 090 303