Are public health education programs effective for obesity prevention?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Because of the sheer prevalence of obesity and the anticipated worsening of the pandemic in the next few decades, prevention is by far the most desirable means to curb the medical and economic consequences of this condition. However, few trials have addressed this issue, and those performed thus far have had mixed results. [143]

Given the global proportions of obesity, a concerted approach is needed to address the problem and should involve the development of a massive public health education program aimed at adults and children as a means of changing their eating, activity, and behavioral habits. Cooperative efforts will also be needed among public health authorities, caterers, the fast food industry, and organizers of sports and outdoor games.

Results of some public health education initiatives in Singapore and parts of China that are only now being evaluated suggest, as hoped, that such programs have the potential for reducing the incidence and prevalence of obesity and may also have an impact on the major comorbidities of obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Until advances in gene therapy permit the alteration of genes that predispose to obesity, such programs are the only preventive options available.


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