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Changing Perceptions of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

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Objectives: To examine changes in public attitudes about childhood obesity and support for prevention. Methods: RTI surveyed US households (N = 1047 and N = 1139) about perceived severity, causes, and support for specific obesity interventions. Logistic regressions examined differences in obesity attitudes and support for prevention. Results: Perceived health threat of childhood obesity increased between the 2 surveys. Support increased for interventions such as regulation of restaurant portions and fast food advertising. Logistic regressions revealed differences among sociodemographic groups. Conclusions: Public support for childhood obesity prevention is increasing. Policy makers can use these findings to develop appropriate prevention strategies.

Keywords: attitudes; childhood obesity; prevention; public policy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: RTI, Washington, DC. 2: RTI, Atlanta, GA. 3: RTI, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Publication date: March 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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