Public policy can play a major role in impacting childhood obesity, yet little is known about the role of nutrition and obesity policy research in informing public policy decisions.
A supplement published in the April issue of Preventing Chronic Disease includes an essay and three articles examining the role of nutrition and obesity policy research and evaluation. The supplement was organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN).
In 2014, NCCOR made strides in exploring new frontiers in childhood obesity. NCCOR’s recently released Annual Report 2014 explores three emerging and important childhood obesity research topics at the center of these efforts: healthy food incentives; lessons learned from global efforts; and childhood obesity declines.
NCCOR’s Connect & Explore Webinar unpacks The Lancet special issue, discussing how public support for policy actions and new thinking can move the needle on obesity
Despite reported areas of decline, no country has reversed its obesity epidemic. Researchers increasingly believe that governments and stakeholders should act urgently to decrease the prevalence of obesity, including childhood obesity. Papers in the new Lancet series review the growing consensus on core policy actions, reasons for patchy progress, and opportunities to aid obesity prevention.
The Lancet Series examines the competing perspectives on the causes and solutions for obesity and why rethinking our approaches is critical to reversing the epidemic. From regulatory action to empowering the public, the authors highlight opportunities to break the cycle of demand for foods of poor nutritional quality and move the focus toward changing food environments. Continue reading
A new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, “Approaches for Promoting Healthy Food Purchases by SNAP Participants,” examines healthy eating incentives for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) users.
Allison Karpyn, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Center for Research and Education and Social Policy at the University of Delaware co-authored the report and was interviewed on WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift program. Listen to The Food Trust’s Dr. Karpyn below.
The project and report was guided by a research question: How can nutrition labeling systems be used to direct, encourage, or incentivize healthier food choices by SNAP participants in retail food settings?
As such, the research project had three main objectives:
1. To develop a plan for how FOP and shelf-labeling systems could be applied to identify healthy choices across all food categories (packaged, bulk, frozen, fresh) and could be used as a basis for incentivizing healthy choices for SNAP participants.
2. To develop theory-based approaches that leverage front of package (FOP) and shelf-labeling systems to promote healthier food purchases by SNAP participants in a manner that is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
3. To identify two approaches that warranted further exploration, describing a step-wise study design for implementing and testing the impact of each approach through a future pilot study.
Check out the full USDA report.
Learn more about the NCCOR Healthy Food Incentives project.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Bridging the Gap program, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently released a new set of resources highlighting opportunities to support wellness policies through evidence-based strategies. These briefs provide an assessment of policies across school districts nationwide, related to seven wellness policy components. They also highlight areas of opportunity for state agencies, school districts, and schools to strengthen wellness policy components. See all seven topic area briefs plus a methods document below. Continue reading
April 2013, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the costs of proposed federal legislation over a 10-year timeframe. For policies and programs that have a long-term impact, the 10-year timeframe can account for many of the costs, but miss out on the savings.
This report from the Campaign to End Obesity concludes that widening that window to 75 years, which the CBO has done in other instances, could better account for all of the costs and savings attributable to various obesity prevention efforts. Because such programs would prevent obesity and related chronic conditions in the long run, they can help save money by reducing health care costs and increasing wages. The report identifies billions of dollars in potential savings that are attributable to four specific obesity prevention strategies, finding the highest potential for savings among women. The savings highlighted below are specific to women: Continue reading
Oct. 8, 2013, RWJF Blog
By Matthew Trowbridge
It is increasingly clear that solutions for our most pressing and challenging public health issues will ultimately hinge on designing environments that encourage healthy behavior choices by making them more available, economical, and enjoyable.
Traditional public health approaches are not perfectly suited to this task. For example, epidemiological studies allow us to measure the association between environmental design features such as parks or sidewalks and walking behavior, but these experimental data are generally insufficient to be either actionable by decision-makers or effective in prompting behavior change. As Jeff Speck, urban planner and theorist, observes in his recent book “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time”:
“The pedestrian is an extremely fragile species, the canary in the coal mine of urban livability. Under the right conditions, this creature thrives and multiplies. But creating those conditions requires attention to a broad range of criteria, some more easily satisfied than others.” Continue reading
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) recently released two new resources for health care providers called the “HL7 Height and Weight Report Implementation Guide” and the “IHE Quality, Research and Public Health Technical Framework Supplement for Healthy Weight.” The tools are designed to help practitioners transmit body mass index (BMI) data from electronic health record systems (EHRs) to public health surveillance systems so it can be used to assess progress in the fight against the childhood obesity epidemic.
Currently the process of capturing and communicating BMI data from provider offices to state health departments is largely inefficient and insufficient as it often requires the provider to enter data into more than one system or requires the development of custom databases. These limitations make it very difficult for agencies, communities, and states to evaluate progress in their childhood obesity prevention efforts. Continue reading
Aug. 2, 2013, News Medical
The United States lags behind other international plans to evaluate obesity prevention efforts, and the country needs to know whether these efforts are having their intended impact, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The committee that wrote the report concluded that more systematic and routine evaluations could help determine how well obesity prevention programs and policies are being implemented and which interventions work best. The committee also recommended specific national and community plans for evaluation of obesity prevention efforts.
Investment in obesity program and policy evaluation is too sporadic, presenting serious barriers to understanding the impact of interventions and the need for future investments, the committee said. Moreover, current data monitoring systems inadequately track progress of some programs, and such monitoring is needed at both the national and community levels. Although many monitoring systems exist, the national systems lack adequate leadership, coordination, infrastructure, guidance, accountability, and capacity. Furthermore, local communities do not have the necessary guidance, capacity, data, and resources for assessing the status of obesity, identifying prevention needs, monitoring obesity prevention actions, evaluating their short-term outcomes, and tracking their long-term effects on obesity reduction. Continue reading