NEW YORK: With obesity turning into a growing concern for the state, not just for affected individuals, researchers have reviewed which policy decisions have actually helped reduce obesity over the years.
The findings detailed in the journal Obesity Reviews can help policy makers know what actions would have maximum impact. "Rigorous science is needed to evaluate these natural or quasi-experiments," said one of the researchers Amy Auchincloss, associate professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health in the US.
The researchers found that with regard to diet and food policy, changes with strong impacts were ones that improved the nutritional quality of foods: trans-fat bans, introducing limits to high-fat food, sugary food and beverage availability. Building supermarkets in underserved areas or changes with regard to nutritional information requirements were found to have little or no impact.
The researchers also found that physical activity focused changes such as improving transportation infrastructure also help people reduce their body weight. The review included medical studies and articles published between 2005-13.