The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) and the CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) proudly presented “Collaborative Modeling to Address Childhood Obesity: Bridging Research and Policy Making,” by Karen J. Minyard, Ph.D., director of the Georgia Health Policy Center at Georgia State University.
As a part of an intensive, year-long health policy educational program, the Georgia Health Policy Center (within the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies) implemented a collaborative systems learning approach to build Georgia state legislators’ capacity for systems thinking. The objective was to provide state policy makers with a systemic perspective on childhood obesity and to base estimates of policy impacts on scientific research. This project brought together legislators, researchers, and subject matter experts in physical activity and nutrition to develop a set of actionable policy options. Researchers gained a deeper understanding of the constraints facing policy makers, and policy makers had an opportunity to test policy options using the best data available.
The computer simulation model provides an opportunity to learn about the consequences of actions before policies are set in motion. The resulting model continues to provide a framework, a common language, and a credible and engaging tool that enables state legislators to engage in a more rigorous discussion about effective and feasible policy options for reducing childhood obesity.