Obesity Prevention and Public Health

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More than 22 million children under five are now obese or overweight. Globally, an estimated 10% of school-aged children, between five and 17 years old, are overweight or obese, and the situation is getting worse. Although recognised clinically for some time as an important condition that increases risk of ill-health in affected individuals, it is only recently, that obesity has been recognised as a population-wide problem that requires preventive action. Obesity is a major contributor to diseases and disability, the associated health costs are enormous, obesity has already reached epidemic proportions in many countries, and incidence is continuing to increase in children and adults. Disturbingly the epidemic is not confined to developed countries, with many developing countries and those in transition affected. While recognised as a major population health problem, our understanding of the causes of the epidemic is poor, there has been relatively little population-based research that has focused on the prevention of unhealthy weight gain, and as a consequence knowledge regarding how and where best to intervene is limited. This book draws together the existing literature and expertise and with a view to helping set the agenda for public health action. The book is divided into three sections. Part 1 provides an overview of the context of the problem. It examines the epidemiology of obesity, the role of behavioural factors, socio-cultural factors and environmental factors in the obesity epidemic. Part 2 reviews interventions across a range of key settings and in different population groups - drawing on existing research that has aimed to increase physical activity, promote healthy eating and prevent obesity at a population level. Given how little research there is that has specifically examined the effectiveness of interventions aimed at preventing obesity per se, Part 3 explores potential opportunities to prevent obesity
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book aims to give people working in the public health arena a text that can provide an up-to-date overview of the epidemiology of the obesity epidemic and the case for prevention. Definitions and trends are reviewed, the current obestity epidemic is examined, and the existing evidence on various current recommended interventions is discussed."

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Patrick L Remington, MD, MPH (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Description: This book presents a scholarly review of the causes of the obesity epidemic in the U.S., and practical strategies for healthcare leaders to consider for the future.
Purpose: The aim of this book is to provide public health professionals with a state-of-the-science overview of the causes of the obesity epidemic and a case for prevention and control. The factors that have caused the obesity epidemic — fundamental changes in society that have led to declines in physical activity and changes in diet — will not be easy to modify. The authors present a clear description of what is known about the causes of the epidemic, and a cogent review of possible solutions.
Audience: This book is written for a broad audience. Students, researchers, teachers, clinicians, and public health practitioners will find it clear, concise, and easy to read. The author has brought together over 25 national experts who bring a diversity of experience and expertise in the causes and consequences of obesity.
Features: The authors present a thorough review of the factors that have contributed to the increasing rates of obesity. They also identify prevention and control strategies that work and save money. However, there is little discussion about the real-life barriers that confront communities who attempt to implement these programs. Who will pay for worksite interventions? K-12 physical education works, but schools are eliminating programs due to funding shortfalls. Fast food industry marketing promotes unhealthy eating but what can be done about it? Topics are repeated in several chapters (e.g., definitions of obesity). This is bothersome when reading the book cover to cover, but permits each chapter to stand on its own.
Assessment: The authors present an excellent overview of the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to the worldwide obesity epidemic. Reading this book is the first step in confronting one of the most daunting public health problems of the 21st century. The challenge will be to find innovative strategies to translate what is known about improving diet and increasing physical activity into practice.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198566007
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/15/2005
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Deakin University

University of Minnesota

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Table of Contents

1 The epidemiology of obesity : a global perspective 3
2 The role of nutrition and physical activity in the obesity epidemic 21
3 The role of socio-cultural factors in the obesity epidemic 37
4 Evolving environmental factors in the obesity epidemic 55
5 The implications of the nutrition transition for obesity in the developing world 75
6 Population approaches to promote healthful eating behaviors 101
7 Population approaches to increasing physical activity among children and adults 129
8 Population approaches to obesity prevention 153
9 The cost-effectiveness of obesity prevention 165
10 Opportunities to prevent obesity in children within families : an ecological approach 207
11 Drawing possible lessons for obesity prevention and control from the tobacco control experience 231
12 The potential for policy initiatives to address the obesity epidemic : a legal perspective from the United States 265
13 The potential of food regulation as a policy instrument for obesity prevention in developing countries 285
14 The need for courageous action to prevent obesity 307
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