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What are the challenges in developing effective health policies for obesity?

Abstract

Identifying and implementing thoughtful, evidence-based (or at least evidence-informed) public health approaches to influencing obesity is a complex issue fraught with multiple challenges. These challenges begin with determining whether obesity policy approaches should be implemented. This is considered within the broader context of how common public health policy approaches may be relevant and applied to obesity. Additional challenges discussed include inconsistencies in clearly identifying obesity policy targets (for example, prevention versus treatment), selection of appropriate intervention targets and the identification and measurement of meaningful outcomes. Current policy initiatives are drawn upon to illustrate these challenges in the context of promoting solution-focused dialog aimed toward improving current initiatives and informing the development of new programs.

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Correspondence to M Binks.

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Competing interests

Dr Binks wishes to report that he currently serves on a speaker's bureau for Novo Nordisk who produce obesity medicines, serves as a paid consultant for WorldCare Global Limited and is proprietor/consultant with Binks Health. He has within the last 3 years received travel awards for his students from The Coca Cola Company and research funding from Nestle Health Science Inc. He also has non-financial relationships with International Food Information Council (non-profit; Scientific Advisory Board-volunteer) and has served as Secretary Treasurer and Development Chair of The Obesity Society within the last year. The remaining author declares no conflict of interest.

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Binks, M., Chin, SH. What are the challenges in developing effective health policies for obesity?. Int J Obes 41, 849–852 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2017.1

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