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How to influence the obesity landscape using health policies

Abstract

There is widespread acceptance that a significant and sustained impact on the growing global obesity burden requires implementation of a range of health policies to influence the obesity landscape. This acceptance is underpinned by the understanding that the obesity landscape is a complex interaction between the many factors that influence an individual’s dietary intake and physical activity levels. Over the past decade we have seen increasing convergence in national and international recommendations on how to best improve this obesity landscape. In the past few years this has led to a noticeable increase in the implementation of these recommended national, state and local government policies. Here, we argue that to maximise the impact of population-level policies intended to improve diet and activity environments we need to see progress in a number of key areas, namely: broadening the range of environments that can be empowered to implement policy; improving our understanding of how best to combine multiple policies and interventions; and improving our understanding of the equity impact of these policies. We also argue that a key goal moving forward should be better capture and communication of the existing activities in order to more rapidly spread the uptake of these policies globally and at scale.

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Acknowledgements

AP is supported by a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship and Deakin University. KB is supported by a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship from the National Heart Foundation of Australia (PH 12M 6824). We would like to thank Professors Steve Allender and Marj Moodie for useful contributions.

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Correspondence to A Peeters.

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Peeters, A., Backholer, K. How to influence the obesity landscape using health policies. Int J Obes 41, 835–839 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2017.24

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