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Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Factors that encourage and discourage policy-making to prevent childhood obesity: Experience in the United States

TitleFactors that encourage and discourage policy-making to prevent childhood obesity: Experience in the United States
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsRutkow, L, Jones-Smith, J, Walters, HJ, O'Hara, M, Bleich, SN
JournalJ Public Health Policy
Date PublishedSep 09
ISBN Number1745-655X (Electronic)0197-5897 (Linking)
Accession Number27613066
KeywordsChildhood obesity, chronic disease, Global health, policy-making, public health policy
Abstract

Policy-makers throughout the world seek to address childhood obesity prevention, yet little is known about factors that influence policy-makers' decisions on this topic. From September 2014 to April 2015, we conducted 43 semi-structured interviews about factors that encourage and discourage policy-makers' support for childhood obesity prevention policies. We interviewed policy-makers (n = 12) and two other groups engaged with childhood obesity prevention policies: representatives of non-governmental organizations (n = 24) and academics (n = 7). Factors that encourage policy-makers' support for childhood obesity prevention policies included: positive impact on government finances, an existing evidence base, partnerships with community-based collaborators, and consistency with policy-makers' priorities. Factors that discourage policy-makers' support included the following: perceptions about government's role, food and beverage industry opposition, and policy-makers' beliefs about personal responsibility. As public health practitioners, advocates, and others seek to advance childhood obesity prevention in the U.S. and elsewhere, the factors we identified offer insights into ways to frame proposed policies and strategies to influence policy-makers.