265210 Promoting policy and environmental change for obesity prevention: A framework to inform public health practice at the local and state levels

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Rodney Lyn, PhD, MS , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Tobey Davis, JD , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Semra Aytur, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Management and Policy, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Cheryl A. Carnoske, RD , Department of Community Health and Prevention Research Center, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
Jamie F. Chriqui, PhD, MHS , Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Kelly R. Evenson, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Amy A. Eyler, PhD , Prevention Research Center, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Karin Goins, MPH , Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA
Jill Litt, PhD , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
Thomas L. Schmid, PhD , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Ross C. Brownson, PhD , The Brown School & Prevention Research Center of St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Obesity poses a major threat to the nation's health. Consistent with the socio-ecological model, leading public health organizations have identified policy and environmental change as a promising approach to mitigating the epidemic. Successful obesity prevention is likely to be dependent upon the capacity of the nation's public health workforce to lead policy change efforts that result in increased levels of physical activity and healthy eating. Yet, many public health professionals have not received adequate training in the application of policy for obesity prevention, and specifically in the strategies that hold promise for facilitating the adoption of desired policies by decision-makers. The public health literature has yet to fully explore the complexities of the policy process as they relate to public health practice. We conducted a review of the literature across the policy science and public health fields, distilled key theories of policymaking, and developed a framework to inform policy change efforts on obesity prevention. Beginning with a conceptual description, we focus on understanding three domains of the policy process: the problem domain, the policy domain and the political domain. We identify key activities in the policy process including: (1) identifying and framing the problem; (2) engaging and educating key individuals and groups; (3) developing evidence-based policy solutions; (4) assessing the social and political environment; (5) building public support and political will; and 6) iteratively evaluating the process. We present case studies of policy change for obesity prevention to illustrate the potential uses of the framework for practitioners.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
- Describe key theories of policymaking and their relevance for obesity prevention and public health practice at the state and local levels. - Identify and describe policy domains related to the development and adoption of public policies related to obesity prevention. - Discuss policy-related activities that hold promise for influencing the adoption of desired obesity prevention policies by decision-makers.

Keywords: Obesity, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator for the submitted abstract, serve as Assistant Professor in public health and conduct research on obesity prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.