Reducing Childhood Obesity Through Policy Change: Acting Now To Prevent Obesity

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.97). 03/2010; 29(3):357-63. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0039
Source: PubMed


Childhood obesity is epidemic in the United States, and is expected to increase the rates of many chronic diseases. Increasing physical activity and improving nutrition are keys to obesity prevention and control. But changing individual behavior is difficult. A comprehensive, coordinated strategy is needed. Policy interventions that make healthy dietary and activity choices easier are likely to achieve the greatest benefits. There is emerging evidence on how to address childhood obesity, but we must take action now to begin to reverse the epidemic.

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    • "Behavioural economics research suggests that patterns in physical activity and eating behavior are the result of routine rather than of a decision process based on a set of options (Just et al, 2008). Therefore, implementation of interventions that change environments can provide a context for individuals to form new routines and to adopt habitually healthy options, thus sustain favourable shifts in population behavior (Frieden et al, 2010). For purpose of better understanding dynamic impacts of SSB taxing and revenue recycling, it is necessary to have a clear portrayal of system boundary which includes all relevant factors such as SSB consumption, people's behavior, revenue distributing mechanisms, main elements of SSB tax policy, and so on. "

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    • "Over time the cost of these behaviours emerge. Childhood obesity is associated with a range of physical and psychological illnesses that continue to manifest into adulthood (Frieden et al. 2010). The estimated direct medical costs associated with obesity in the United States have been calculated at $26 billion per year (Cawley and Meyerhoefer 2012). "

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    • "Building on these findings, we call for a holistic approach to encouraging healthy food choices and provide a conceptual basis for this endeavor. Conceptual Background Conflict Between Healthiness and Tastiness in Food Decision M aking The obesity epidemic is largely related to preventable risk factors, such as the intake of foods with high energy densi­ ties and a lack of physical activity (Frieden, Dietz, and Collins 2010; Hill et al. 2003). Consumers must increase their relative intake of healthy foods compared with unhealthy foods to decrease the prevalence of diet-related diseases. "
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    ABSTRACT: The goal conflict between short-term indulgence and long-term health considerations is at the heart of unhealthy food choices, and thus, a key contributor to growing adiposity prevalence. Policy makers often attempt to promote healthy eating behaviors by raising consumers’ health consciousness. Given that previous health campaigns have fallen short of expectations, this article examines the potential of health consciousness to resolve the so-called unhealthy = tasty intuition (UTI). Study 1 explores whether health consciousness attenuates belief in the UTI and its detrimental consequences for food choice and body mass. Study 2 applies the Implicit Association Test to disentangle the intuition’s implicit and explicit processes. Results show that health consciousness operates only via cognitively controlled processes. Using real food products, Study 3 analyzes how health consciousness colors the influence of composition and labeling on tastiness and healthiness perceptions. The studies jointly demonstrate that the UTI partly works implicitly and independently of health consciousness. Hence, the obesity epidemic should be addressed through concerted actions that include policy makers’ health communication and the food industry’s product development.
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