How can we build community consensus on action to tackle obesity?
There are varying perspectives on what actions are needed to address complex public health issues, like obesity.
The Foresight Obesity Systems Map highlights the many influences and possible points of intervention. Building on our work with VicHealth’s Leading Thinker, Dr. David Halpern, Victoria’s Citizens’ Jury on Obesity sought to build community consensus by helping every day Victorians to better understand how they make decisions in practice, in order to develop a blueprint for government, industry and community action.
A citizens’ jury is one of many new social innovations being used to increase citizen participation in developing public policy. Jury members were everyday Victorian citizens. They were not required to have a formal or professional understanding of obesity. The jury was descriptively representative of the Victorian public, selected at random. They were from as many communities, professions, lifestyle groups, and demographics as possible.
The jurors worked through a broad range of submissions (evidence) for 6 weeks online, supported by independent facilitators. They then came together on 17 - 18 October 2015 to finalise their views and write their ‘asks’ which were presented to a Steering Group comprising key government, industry, public health and community decision-makers.
Download: Process Design for Victoria's Citizens' Jury (PDF, 598 KB)
EvidenceVicHealth developed an accessible overview on obesity and food to provide the jury with a common starting point. newDemocracy Foundation invited any interested party to make a submission to the jury, so that a diverse range of views and perspectives were put forward.
In total, over 60 submissions were received representing perspectives from:
- Food manufacturers and producers
- Retailers and industry
- Public health advocates
- Consumer advocates
- Non-government organisations
- Community groups
The jurors themselves determined how they engaged with these materials, and invited representatives from these parties to hear further information.
InsightsVictoria’s Citizens’ Jury on Obesity delivered 20 clear actions (or 'asks') to promote healthier eating and tackle rising rates of obesity. The jury’s asks provide governments, industry and public health advocates with a blueprint for action, determined by citizens and based on expert evidence.