Melbourne picks up international obesity congress

Victoria’s capital has secured the International Congress on Obesity (ICO) 2022, a pivotal business event to tackle the world-wide obesity epidemic.

The announcement follows the Australian government’s commitment to reducing the nation’s obesity levels with the establishment on an Expert Steering Committee to help progress the government’s 10-year National Preventative Health Strategy.

The bid was secured by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) in partnership the Australia & New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS), along with support from the Victorian government and Tourism Australia’s Business Events Bid Fund Program.

Taking place in 2022 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), the conference will contribute to creating a healthier nation and break down barriers for healthier lifestyles, with a focus on research, treatment and the prevention of obesity.

Held biennially and auspiced by the World Obesity Federation, ICO 2022 will bring together over 1,500 global leaders across the fields of science, medicine, research, and policy together to showcase the latest research on all aspects of obesity.

Federal tourism minister Simon Birmingham said: “This is a major win for Melbourne and reinforces the city’s standing as a business events destination of choice.

“Business events are extremely valuable to our economy, with the average business events visitor spending at least twice as much as a leisure visitor.

“As a country, we have a distinguished track record of hosting large-scale international business events, and I am pleased that the Morrison government’s Bid Fund Program is continuing to assist in the conversion of new business for Australia which provides a boost to our economy.”

MCB chief executive Julia Swanson said: “This success is a result of Melbourne’s status as Australia’s knowledge and innovation capital, combined with the unified ‘Team Melbourne’ approach that helps us to continuously deliver business events of this calibre.

“Melbourne is recognised as a first-choice destination in hosting global events in the medical field and attracting the world’s best minds to gather to think differently, develop new solutions and deliver real change to reduce the prevalence of obesity.”

ANZOS president Jane Martin said: “The success was a result of Melbourne’s appeal as a liveable city, combined with the strong scientific and research focus on obesity that exists in Victoria.

“This, together with the world-class facilities and experience that we can offer for international delegates, were pivotal in securing the bid.

“This congress will allow us to showcase Melbourne’s obesity research hubs, the city’s commitment to healthy lifestyles, its vibrancy and all that it has to offer, including its parks, recreation and strong food culture.”

Brian Oldfield, president of the Asia Oceania Association for the Study of Obesity, said: “Key to the successful bid was the local support from government and other stakeholders.

“The biennial meeting will bring together the best researchers into the prevention and treatment of obesity from around the world and nationally.”