Nearly 69 percent of U.S. adults and 32 percent of children are either overweight or obese, creating an annual medical cost burden that may reach $147 billion. The physical environments and the kinds of foods available where people live and work, the marketing and media messages they receive, and the public policies that govern their lives all play a major role in their diets and physical activity levels. Researchers and policy makers are eager to identify improved measures of environmental and policy factors that contribute to obesity prevention.
The IOM formed the Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention to review the IOM’s past obesity-related recommendations, identify a set of recommendations for future action, and recommend indicators of progress in implementing these actions. The committee held a workshop in March 2011 about how to improve measurement of progress in obesity prevention. The workshop was an opportunity for the committee to discuss opportunities and challenges related to measurement and to hear from experts in relevant fields, including public health, economics, nutrition, media studies and communication, marketing, and public policy. This document summarizes the workshop.