Accelerating progress on obesity

In the early 1920's researchers first linked smoking to lung cancer. The Surgeon General's report in 1964 confirmed the risk. In the 40 years since that report, great progress has been made in addressing tobacco use in the United States. Though there is much yet to accomplish, the long-term effort is paying off. The impetus for this project was the hope that we will not have to wait as long to see progress on obesity. The purpose was to determine how research and advocacy used successfully in tobacco control and other public health issues can be applied to childhood obesity prevention.

Related publications

Extracting lessons from public health battlegrounds
The main activities were two small working meetings bringing together researchers and advocates from tobacco, alcohol, firearms, and traffic safety to identify the key "moments" in research on those various public health issues and how the research was used successfully by advocates in contentious and controversial policy debates. Public health advocates in tobacco, alcohol, firearms, and traffic safety struggled for years before understanding that individual approaches alone won't suffice and that environmental (or policy) approaches to prevention had to be part of the mix. The purpose of the meetings was to develop a better understanding of how public health got to the point of pushing policy in other arenas and how we can apply those lessons to preventing obesity. The meetings uncovered the scars and practical experience from specific policy battles to help public health funders and practitioners identify what could be facilitated now so that the process happens faster for obesity. The final report catalogues lessons from tobacco, alcohol, firearms, and traffic safety so that public health funders, researchers, and practitioners might assess them, adapt them, and apply them to preventing and reducing obesity.

Acceleration meeting preliminary report

The preliminary report captures the advice from the first acceleration meeting. (These lessons are integrated into the final report above.)

Acceleration meeting report: Appendix

The appendix to the preliminary report outlines the component parts of an infrastructure to support policy advocacy to prevent and reduce obesity: policy advocacy support, bridging, and media advocacy. It also describes 20 research questions for accelerating progress on obesity.

Background memos

BMSG commissioned several memos prior to the acceleration meetings to provide background on each of following the public health issues: Tobacco, alcohol, firearms, traffic hazards, nutrition.

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