Friday, August 26, 2011

[EQ] Changing the future of obesity: science, policy, and action

Changing the future of obesity: science, policy, and action

The Lancet, Volume 378, Issue 9793, Pages 838 - 847, 27 August 2011


Available online at:


“……The global obesity epidemic has been escalating for four decades, yet sustained prevention efforts have barely begun. An emerging science that uses quantitative models has provided key insights into the dynamics of this epidemic, and enabled researchers to combine evidence and to calculate the effect of behaviours, interventions, and policies at several levels—from individual to population. Forecasts suggest that high rates of obesity will affect future population health and economics.

Energy gap models have quantified the association of changes in energy intake and expenditure with weight change, and have documented the effect of higher intake on obesity prevalence. Empirical evidence that shows interventions are effective is limited but expanding. We identify several cost-effective policies that governments should prioritise for implementation. Systems science provides a framework for organising the complexity of forces driving the obesity epidemic and has important implications for policy makers.

Many parties (such as governments, international organisations, the private sector, and civil society) need to contribute complementary actions in a coordinated approach. Priority actions include policies to improve the food and built environments, cross-cutting actions (such as leadership, healthy public policies, and monitoring), and much greater funding for prevention programmes. Increased investment in population obesity monitoring would improve the accuracy of forecasts and evaluations.

The integration of actions within existing systems into both health and non-health sectors (trade, agriculture, transport, urban planning, and development) can greatly increase the influence and sustainability of policies. We call for a sustained worldwide effort to monitor, prevent, and control obesity………”

Prof Steven L Gortmaker a , Prof Boyd A Swinburn b, Prof David Levy d, Prof Rob Carter c, Patricia L Mabry e, Prof Diane T Finegood f, Prof Terry Huang g, Tim Marsh h, Marjory L Moodie c
a Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
b WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
c Deakin Health Economics, Deakin Population Health, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
d Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, and Department of Economics, University of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, USA
e Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
f Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, Canada
g Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA
h National Heart Forum, London, UK

Series Comments

The future challenge of obesity

Full Text |

Reversing the tide of obesity

Full Text |

Where next for obesity

Full Text |

Series Papers

The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments

Summary |

Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK

Summary |

Quantification of the effect of energy imbalance on bodyweight

Summary |


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