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Information, Incentives and Choice: A Viable Approach to Preventing Obesity

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The basic biological causes and health effects of obesity have been common knowledge and a focus of public health concern since the mid‐20th century. Still, little has been effective in slowing the upward trends of obesity in OECD populations. Adapting efficient solutions to this problem requires an understanding of the complex, interrelated factors that contribute to overweight and obesity, and the equally complex mix of tools that can remove or mitigate these causes. This chapter presents a discussion of critical factors in the design and implementation of effective prevention strategies, including considerations on how social norms form and evolve, as well as how individual approach and population approaches to chronic disease prevention can work together in the case of obesity. The chapter also discusses in further depth the meaning of a multi‐stakeholder approach to prevention and the potential effects of government action on individual choice.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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