Obesity-Related Work at the National Academies’ Food and Nutrition Board

In the United States, 36.5 percent of adults and about 17 percent of children and adolescents have obesity. However, in recent years the rate of obesity among 2 to 5 year old children has decreased significantly (from 13.9% in 2003-2004 to 9.4% in 2013-2014). Still, obesity has immediate and long-term negative effects on physical and emotional health, health care costs, and national productivity. Ending this epidemic poses a major challenge for policy makers, health professionals and the nation as a whole.

Starting with its 2005 report, Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board has called national attention to the obesity epidemic and the need for actions in every sector and level of society to address this major public health problem. The National Academies has since recommended community, state, and national level strategies that have been shown to change environments in ways that increase healthy eating and physical activity. Today, the Food and Nutrition Board works to advance the conversation on obesity prevention, management, and treatment with its ongoing convening activities, including the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions, public workshops, and consensus studies. The following reports, workshop publications, and communication tools have informed the obesity efforts of policy makers, researchers, practitioners, and the public. You can explore and download additional obesity-related publications at the National Academies Press website. 

Consensus Reports

    Assessing Prevalence and Trends in Obesity: Navigating the Evidence

Released: June 21, 2016

Accurate and meaningful estimates of prevalence and trends are fundamental to describing and understanding the scope of obesity. Policy makers, program planners, and other stakeholders search for and use reports relevant to their population(s) of interest to inform decision making. Interpreting and appropriately applying information derived from such reports, however, is challenging because of variations in methodologies and presentation that exist in the literature. In the report, Assessing Prevalence and Trends in Obesity: Navigating the Evidence, the committee offers a description of the landscape of the literature, a framework for assessing and interpreting published reports, and recommendations for improving future data collection efforts and filling data gaps.
    
     Evaluating Obesity Prevention Efforts: A Plan for Measuring Progress

Released: August 2, 2013

This report provides a concise and actionable plan for measuring the nation’s progress in obesity prevention efforts – specifically, the success of policy and environmental strategies recommended in the 2012 IOM report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation.

 

Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School
Released: May 23, 2013

This report provides approaches for strengthening and improving programs and policies for physical activity and physical education in the school environment, including before, during, and after school.

 

    

Fitness Measures and Health Outcomes in Youth
Released: September 27, 2012

This report assesses relationships between youth fitness test items and health outcomes, recommends best fitness test items, and provides guidance for their interpretation.

 

 

Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation
Released: May 8, 2012

This report evaluates prior obesity prevention strategies and identified recommendations and goals to accelerate progress in obesity prevention.

 

 

   

Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies
Released: June 23, 2011

This report recommends actions that healthcare professionals, caregivers, and policymakers can take to prevent obesity in children from birth to five years of age.

 

 

Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention: A Framework to Inform Decision Making
Released: April 23, 2010

This report recommends an innovative process to help decision makers and researchers use available evidence and develop new evidence to determine what actions to take as they confront the obesity epidemic and other complex public health issues.

 

 

Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity
Released: September 1, 2009

This report presents a menu of steps local government officials should consider in their efforts to prevent childhood obesity in their community.

 

 

Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?
Released: September 13, 2006

This report calls on key stakeholders to commit to childhood obesity prevention, evaluate all policies and programs, monitor their progress, and widely disseminate promising practices.

 

 

Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?
Released: December 5, 2005

This report provides the most comprehensive review to date of the scientific evidence on the influence of food marketing on diets and diet-related health of children and youth and finds that food and beverage marketing practices put children’s long-term health at risk.

 

 

Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance
Released: September 29, 2004

This report examines the nature, extent, and consequences of obesity in U.S. children and youth, including the social, environmental, medical, and dietary factors responsible for its increased prevalence and presents a prevention-oriented action plan.

 

Workshop Proceedings and Summaries

 

 
  Driving Action and Progress on Obesity Prevention and Treatment: Proceedings of a Workshop
Released: June 05, 2017
     

  Driving Action and Progress on Obesity Prevention and Treatment: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief
Released: January 4, 2017
     
 
  The Role of Business in Multisector Obesity Solutions: Working Together for Positive Change—Workshop in Brief
Released: June 29, 2016
     
 
  Obesity in the Early Childhood Years: State of the Science and Implementation of Promising Solutions: Workshop Summary
Released: June 1, 2016
     
 
  Obesity in the Early Childhood Years: State of the Science and Implementation of Promising Solutions: Workshop in Brief
Released: January 11, 2016
     
 
  Physical Activity: Moving Toward Obesity Solutions: Workshop Summary
Released: November 13, 2015
     
 
  Cross-Sector Responses to Obesity: Models for Change: Workshop Summary
Released: June 15, 2015
     
 
  Physical Activity: Moving Toward Obesity Solutions—Workshop in Brief
Released: June 10, 2015
     
 
  Cross-Sector Responses to Obesity: Workshop in Brief
Released: December 1, 2014
     
 
  The Current State of Obesity Solutions in the United States - Workshop Summary
Released: June 12, 2014 

     
 
  The Current State of Obesity Solutions in the United States: Workshop in Brief
Released: February 3, 2014
     

  Examining a Developmental Approach to Childhood Obesity: The Fetal and Early Childhood Years Workshop Summary
Released: September 15, 2015
     
   

Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight - Workshop Summary
Released: November 25, 2013

This workshop examined the role of the many factors that contribute to health disparities and to explored ways to counter and reverse their influence

   

 

   

Challenges and Opportunities for Change in Food Marketing to Children and Youth - Workshop Summary
Released: March 4, 2013

This workshop reviewed progress and explore opportunities for action on food and beverage marketing that targets children and youth.

   

 

   

Alliances for Obesity Prevention: Finding Common Ground - Workshop Summary
Released: May 11, 2012

This workshop heard from organizations, movements, and sectors with the potential to be allies for obesity prevention, and to identify common ground and engender dialogue among them.

 

 

Measuring Progress in Obesity Prevention - Workshop Report
Released: February 23, 2012

In this workshop report, researchers and policy makers identify improved measures for environmental and policy factors that contribute to obesity prevention.

 

 

Legal Strategies in Childhood Obesity Prevention - Workshop Summary
Released: August 10, 2011

This workshop explored current and future legal strategies aimed at combating childhood obesity at the national, state, and local levels and the challenges of using legal strategies to bring about change.

 

 

  

Hunger and Obesity: Understanding a Food Insecurity Paradigm - Workshop Summary
Released: March 17, 2011

This workshop explored the relationship between food insecurity and obesity, the current state of the research, and the data and analyses needed to better understand their relationship.

 

 

Leveraging Food Technology for Obesity Prevention and Reduction Efforts - Workshop Summary
Released: July 27, 2011

This workshop examined the complexity of human eating behavior and explored ways the food industry can continue to leverage modern and innovative food processing technologies to influence energy intake as a method to reduce and prevent obesity.

 

 

Perspectives from United Kingdom and United States Policy Makers on Obesity Prevention - Workshop Summary
Released: March 25, 2010

This summary describes innovative obesity prevention strategies, programs, and policies from each country and similarities and differences between the nations’ approaches to obesity prevention and policies.

 

 

Community Perspectives on Obesity Prevention in Children - Workshop Summary
Released: October 21, 2009

This summary portrays challenges faced by community leaders and evaluators in their efforts to implement and assess promising local policy and programmatic interventions to prevent and reduce childhood obesity.

 

 

Childhood Obesity Prevention in Texas - Workshop Summary
Released: October 21, 2009

At this workshop held in Texas, statistics on childhood obesity, demographic analyses, and presentations on efforts being made to prevent and reduce obesity in the state made for an informative case study in obesity prevention.

 

Joint U.S.-Mexico Workshop on Preventing Obesity in Children and Youth of Mexican Origin
Released: January 16, 2007

In this workshop, speakers shared perspectives on the problem of obesity in children and youth of Mexican origin on both sides of the border and discussed potential solutions.

 

Evaluating Obesity Prevention Efforts: A Plan for Measuring Progress
Released: August 2, 2013

This report provides a concise and actionable plan for measuring the nation’s progress in obesity prevention efforts – specifically, the success of policy and environmental strategies recommended in the 2012 IOM report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation.