Community Forum to address a weighty issue in Cessnock

Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN) will be hosting a community forum to gather ideas and build a plan to achieve long-term health improvement.

The forum is part of the PHN’s Healthy Weight Initiative, which targets overweight and obese hotspots in the region.

The Cessnock Local Government Area (LGA) has one of the highest rates of overweight and obese people in NSW, with one in three adults classified as obese. This is 22 per cent higher than the state average.

HNECC PHN Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nankervis, said the issue of obesity and maintaining healthy weight is fast becoming Australia’s biggest health challenge.

“We have already consulted with the clinical community of Cessnock to set the platform for a model-of-care that will help people to reach a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

“But that is only part of the puzzle as having the whole community involved is the best way to help people achieve and sustain a healthy weight, and reduce their disease risk”, Mr Nankervis said.

The 2015 NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey shows that children from low and middle socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely to be overweight or obese than those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds.

“We want to consult across the entire community in the region to gather ideas and hear experiences – from schools, NGOs, community groups to local council”, Mr Nankervis said.

He said if people are not able to attend the forum, they can contribute online via the PHN’s peoplebank consultation website ( 

The Healthy Weight Initiative Cessnock community forum will be held on Wednesday, March 29, from 6.30pm at Cessnock Leagues Club. People can register to attend at