A recent US National Research Council report, Local Government Actions to Prevent Obesity provides a nice summary of the kind of interventions that have the best potential to tackle childhood obesity. 

According to the press release: “Many of these steps focus on increasing access to healthy foods and opportunities for active play and exercise.  They include:
– providing incentives to lure grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods;
– eliminating outdoor ads for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks near schools; requiring calorie and other nutritional information on restaurant menus; 
– implementing local “Safe Routes to School” programs
– regulating minimum play space and time in child care programs; 
– rerouting buses or developing other transportation strategies that ensure people can get to grocery stores; and 
– using building codes to ensure facilities have working water fountains.”

So, here’s the dream team you’d need for a comprehensive attack on obesity at the local government level:

– an incentive manager;
– a regulator; 
– a building code planner; 
– a nutritionist; 
– a transport planner; 
– an educator; 
– a courageous politician or two to drive these changes through; and
– a facilitator, to pull it all together.
Advertisements