A concerted effort to provide a raft of free or low-cost health programs has enabled the City of Cockburn to help its residents radically reduce overweight and obesity percentages to rates on par with state and regional averages.
According to WA Health Department statistics, 79 per cent of Cockburn residents were either overweight or obese in 2015-2016 but this figure fell by nearly 10 per cent between 2017-2019, to 70.1 per cent.
The City of Cockburn Health and Wellbeing Profile Summary 2017-2019, published in September 2021 by the South Metropolitan Health Service, states there is no significant difference in the prevalence of overweight or obese adults 16 years and over in Cockburn when compared to WA and South Metropolitan Health Region averages.
The summary, which is prepared for all WA local government areas to help with public health planning, lists the corresponding overweight and obesity statistics for WA and the region at 70.5 per cent and 71.6 per cent respectively.
City of Cockburn Manager Environmental Health, Nick Jones, said he believed the welcome turnaround in statistics was influenced by three significant and unusual projects first rolled out in Cockburn in 2011 when the combined obesity/overweight rate was 73.8 per cent.
The Cohealth Healthy Communities initiative (2011-2013) was followed by YourMove Cockburn (2013-2014).
These were superseded in 2017 by the comprehensive expanded Cockburn Healthy Lifestyle Service (CHLS) which is offered in partnership with Success-based Cockburn Integrated Health.
“It’s a brilliant result and while we acknowledge this positive turnaround, we plan to keep helping our residents continuously improve their health levels through the CHLS program,” Mr Jones said.
More than 820 people engaged with the CHLS in 2021, with 60.5 per cent losing an average of 3+kg, 60.2 per cent decreasing their BMI, 55 per cent increasing their vegetable consumption, 52.8 per cent recording a reduced waist circumference, 35 per cent increasing their fruit consumption and 34 per cent increasing their physical activity.
Mr Jones said the CHLS provided free health consults by an allied health professional who assessed clients’ physical, nutrition and mental wellbeing to create a plan tailored to specific individual needs.
“Clients attend a health consultation every two months over a year-long period to ensure their evolving needs are met,” Mr Jones said.
“The CHLS is a holistic approach to healthy living for people of all ages to achieve long-term health and lifestyle goals including healthy eating, increasing fitness, reducing stress, losing weight or enhancing overall health.”
Some of the activities include the popular HEAL™ program (Healthy Eating, Activity and Lifestyle), MAN v FAT soccer, OWL program (Optimal Weight for Life) for children and young adults, Food Sensations for Adults, Healthy Schools program, Heart Foundation Walking Groups and 24 other health-related initiatives.
“Cockburn residents are fortunate to have access to the best healthy lifestyle programs targeting obesity of any local government in WA,” Mr Jones said.
“We hope these positive results will continue to be reflected, and perhaps improve further, in future South Metropolitan Health Service health and wellbeing summaries for Cockburn.”
To find out more, call the service on 0481 793 347, send an email
or visit the City’s website
Cockburn Healthy Lifestyle Service successes:
- HEAL™ - 9 programs delivered in 2021. 370 clients between 2017-2020
- MAN v FAT - recorded a weight loss of 220kg over 3 seasons in 2021 with the biggest loser in season 1 losing 12kgs over 14 weeks
- Free health checks - 1,057 adults and children participated in free health checks conducted at the City’s 6 major community events and 92 health checks conducted at Bunnings in Bibra Lake and Success
- Food Sensations for Adults and Cooking with Confidence - 112 participants
- Healthy Schools - reaching 1,200+ students at 6 local primary schools
- CHLS clientele increase - 216 in 2017-2018, 404 in 2019 and 358 in 2020 (COVID impacted). More than 50 per cent reported weight loss between their first and last health consult.
- CHLS increased its health and wellbeing programs from 8 in 2017 to 30 in 2021.
People line up for free health checks offered by the City of Cockburn at the 2021 Cockburn Rotary Spring Fair.