Obesity Policy Research
Obesity is a risk factor for various types of cancer and for other chronic diseases and
conditions such as type II diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Obesity
prevalence in the United States has risen substantially in the last 50 years, particularly
since the early 1980s. Experiences with tobacco control and other public health
initiatives suggest that public policy may be a powerful tool to alter diet and physical
activity behavior at the population level.
The Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch (RFMMB) supports various initiatives in
obesity policy research, including:
- Promoting research on diet and physical activity that may inform policymaking at
local, state or federal levels.
A workshop was held in June, 2007 on considerations for an obesity policy research
agenda. A summary paper from the workshop has been developed and will be forthcoming.
- Measurement of the food and physical activity environments.
Robust measures of the food and built environments are required both to enhance our
understanding of the causes of variation in diet, physical activity and weight and to form
the foundation of research to inform policy. A workshop was held in November, 2007 to
assess the state of the science of these environmental measures, examine knowledge gained
from research using measurement instruments and methodologies, and define gaps and
priorities for future work. A journal supplement from the proceedings of the workshop is
in development. A searchable, web-based compilation of the peer-reviewed literature
measuring the food environment is also in development and will be available shortly.