Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: Focus on Industry - Brief Summary: Institute of Medicine Regional Symposium


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The Institute of Medicine (IOM), through the Food and Nutrition Board, and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is undertaking a study to design a dissemination effort that will promote the implementation of the findings and recommendations for the IOM report, Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, and to assess progress in childhood obesity prevention efforts.

In 2005, the IOM Committee on Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity organized three regional symposia in the midwest, southeastern, and western United States to galvanize obesity prevention efforts of local, state, and national decision-makers, community and school leaders, grassroots organizations, and industry--including the food, beverage, restaurant, leisure, and entertainment industries.

These three symposia involved disseminating the findings and recommendations of the original IOM report; catalyzing dialogues that highlight promising practices for schools, communities, and industry; and identifying assets and barriers to move forward with obesity prevention efforts in these sectors and selected regions.

In collaboration with The California Endowment, the committee held the study’s third regional symposium, Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: Focus on Industry, in Irvine, California on December 1, 2005.

The symposium provided a useful forum for industry stakeholders to explore viable strategies and exchange information about promising practices and approaches for addressing barriers to obesity prevention initiatives.

This brief summary highlights the recurring themes that emerged from the symposium for accelerating change and moving forward with obesity prevention efforts:

  • reverse the obesity trend;
  • market health and nutrition;
  • make a business commitment to health;
  • change the food and physical activity environment;
  • forge strategic partnerships;
  • garner political support to ally public health and industry;
  • educate stakeholders;
  • collect, disseminate, and share local data; and
  • evaluate programs and interventions.  

This summary, along with two other symposia summaries, and a more detailed discussion of insights and regional examples, will be incorporated in the IOM committee’s final report on progress in preventing childhood obesity that will be released in September 2006.