Evolution in Obesity and Chronic Disease Prevention Practice in California Public Health Departments, 2010
Published Date:Nov 13 2014
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 11.
Local health departments (LHDs) are dedicating resources and attention to preventing obesity and associated chronic diseases, thus expanding their work beyond traditional public health activities such as surveillance. This study investigated practices of local health departments in California to prevent obesity and chronic disease.
We conducted a web-based survey in 2010 with leaders in California’s LHDs to obtain diverse perspectives on LHDs’ practices to prevent obesity and chronic disease. The departmental response rate for the 2010 survey was 87% (53 of California’s 61 LHDs).
Although staff for preventing obesity and chronic disease decreased at 59% of LHDs and stayed the same at 26% of LHDs since 2006, LHDs still contributed the same (12%) or a higher (62%) level of effort in these areas. Factors contributing to internal changes to address obesity and chronic disease prevention included momentum in the field of obesity prevention, opportunities to learn from other health departments, participation in obesity and chronic disease prevention initiatives, and flexible funding streams for chronic disease prevention. LHDs that received foundation funding or had a lead person or organizational unit coordinating or taking the lead on activities related to obesity and chronic disease prevention were more likely than other LHDs to engage in some activities related to obesity prevention.
California LHDs are increasing the intensity and breadth of obesity and chronic disease prevention. Findings provide a benchmark from which further changes in the activities and funding sources of LHD chronic disease prevention practice may be measured.
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