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Missed Opportunities: Local Health Departments as Providers of Obesity Prevention Programs for Adolescents

Slater SJ, Powell LM and Chaloupka FJ. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33(4S): S246-250, 2007. 

Background: This study examined the availability of local health department programs related to youth healthy eating, obesity control, and physical activity.

Methods: Data were obtained in the spring and summer of 2003. Selection of communities was based on a nationally representative sample of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students. Health departments with jurisdiction over these communities were contacted. Information was collected on departmental activities around healthy eating, weight loss, and physical activity.

Results: Results reveal that on average less than half the health departments surveyed provide, support, or advocate for programs targeting these activities. While the majority of informants indicated that these programs are of high priority, there is still an opportunity for health departments to expand these types of services.

Conclusions: By increasing and expanding these programs and advocacy efforts, health agencies could be an important resource in helping to curb the current obesity epidemic.

Reprinted with permission from American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Journal Article (PDF)

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