3309.0 Institute of Medicine obesity prevention tools for policy makers and researchers

Monday, November 8, 2010: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
The health and well-being of children and adults in the United States are threatened by the high prevalence of overweight and obesity. Obesity has increased dramatically over the last three decades and now stands at almost 17% for children and about 34% for adults. In combination overweight and obesity affect close to 34% of children and 68% of adults. Obese children and adolescents are more likely to develop hypertension, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes when they are young, and they are more likely to be obese when they are adults. Obese adults have an increased risk for numerous chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and osteoarthritis. While the obesity epidemic has affected individuals in all race/ethnicity and socioeconomic groups, some groups (the poor, African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders) tend to be disproportionately affected. Local and state governments, including health departments, can have a substantial influence on the food and physical activity environments in which children and adults live, work, study, and play. However, in making decisions about how to respond to the problem of obesity, government officials and public health professionals face an evidence base that is limited in many important areas. Yet they feel that they must act now, based on the best available evidence. Researchers, funders of research, and publishers of research determine to a large extent how well obesity prevention evidence gaps are filled and how useful the evidence is to those who make program and policy decisions. In the last year, the Institute of Medicine has published two useful tools for government officials, public health professionals, and generators of research to make important obesity prevention decisions: Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity (publicly released in September 2009) and A Framework to Inform Obesity Prevention Decision Making (publicly released in April 2010). Both reports were developed by committees composed of public health professionals, policy makers, and obesity researchers. In this session, members of the committees that developed these reports will present study recommendations, discuss their implications for different audiences, and encourage their use and feedback on their effectiveness.
Session Objectives: 1. Identify specific actions steps for childhood obesity prevention that are within the jurisdiction of local governments; are based on the experience of local governments or knowledgeable sources that work with local governments; and have the potential to make positive contributions to the achievement of healthy eating and/or optimum physical activity; 2. Discuss the importance of involving the community and using a “health equity lens” in determining which obesity prevention actions to take; and 3. Explain how to use the evidence framework presented at the session to develop, find, and use the best available evidence on obesity prevention to inform policy decisions, and to generate further evidence to inform future decision making.

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Organized by: Food and Nutrition

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

See more of: Food and Nutrition