Setting Strategies for Prevention
The challenges of stopping and reversing our nation’s obesity trend are complex, but there are key strategies that stand the best chance of success, concluded a new report released last week by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
The IOM report evaluated more than 800 obesity prevention recommendations to identify those that could work together most quickly and effectively to meet five goals.
- Integrate physical activity into people’s daily lives.
Recommendations include: improving the physical environment of communities and adopting physical activity requirements for licensed child care providers.
- Make healthy foods and beverages available everywhere.
Recommendations include: adopting policies to reduce overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages; increasing the availability of lower-calorie and healthier restaurant foods for children; and ensuring all foods/beverages provided by the government follow nutrition standards.
- Transform marketing and messages about nutrition and activity.
Recommendations include: implementing common standards for marketing foods and beverages to youths, and having the FDA and USDA adopt a single standard nutrition labeling system for all fronts of packages and retail store shelves
- Activate employers and health care professionals to support healthy lifestyles.
Recommendations include: having health care providers adopt standards of practice for prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of overweight and obesity; and worksites encouraging active living and healthy eating at work.
- Make schools a gateway to healthy weights.
Recommendations include: K-12 students engaging in 60 minutes of physical activity per school day; teaching food literacy and nutrition science education in K-12; and school boards/state department of educations developing nutrition standards for foods sold/served outside of the federal programs.
Source: Dan Glickman, Lynn Parker, Leslie J. Sim, Heather Del Valle Cook, and Emily Ann Miller, Editors; Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention; Food and Nutrition Board; Institute of Medicine. Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. 2012.