A conduit between epidemiological research and regional health policy

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To transform data from a research setting into a format that could be used to support strategies encouraging healthy lifestyle choices and service planning within local government.


Details of the health status and lifestyle behaviours of the Geelong, Victoria, population were generated independently by the Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS), a prospective population-based cohort study. Recent GOS follow-up phases provided evidence about patterns of unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking and harmful alcohol use. These factors are well-recognised modifiable risk factors for chronic disease; the dataset was complemented with prevalence estimates for musculoskeletal disease, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and cancer.


Data were provided to Healthy Together Geelong in aggregate form according to age, sex and suburb. A population statistics company used the data to project health outcomes by suburb for use by local council. This data exchange served as a conduit between epidemiological research and policy development.

Conclusion and implications:

Regional policy makers were informed by local evidence, rather than national or state health survey, thereby optimising potential intervention strategies.

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