Views of City, County, and State Policy Makers About Childhood Obesity in New York State, 2010–2011
Published Date:Nov 21 2013
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 10.
No single solution exists to reduce rates of childhood obesity in the United States, but public policy action is essential. A greater understanding of policy maker views on childhood obesity would provide insight into ways that public health advocates can overcome barriers to propose, enact, and implement obesity prevention policies.
We conducted 48 in-depth, qualitative interviews with town/city, county, and state policy makers in the state of New York from December 14, 2010, through June 10, 2011. We used a semistructured interview protocol to solicit policy maker views on the causes of, solutions to, and responsibility for addressing the issue of childhood obesity.
Most policy makers considered the issue of childhood obesity to be of high importance. Respondents cited changes to family structures as a major cause of childhood obesity, followed by changes in the external environment and among children themselves. Respondents offered varied solutions for childhood obesity, with the most common type of solution being outside of the respondent’s sphere of policy influence. Policy makers cited the need for joint responsibility among parents, government, schools, and the food industry to address childhood obesity.
Beliefs of many policy makers about childhood obesity are similar to those of the general public. Findings highlight the need for future research to inform the development of communication strategies to promote policy action among those with authority to pass and implement it.
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