Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: Focus on Schools - 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, undertook a study to design a dissemination effort that assessed progress in obesity prevention actions and promoted the implementation of the findings and recommendations for the IOM report, Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance.   

In 2005, the IOM committee organized three regional meetings in the Mid-west, South, 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.

In collaboration with the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF), the IOM held the study's first regional symposium in Wichita, Kansas on June 27-28, 2005. This first symposium focused on the IOM report recommendations for schools and stakeholders in the school setting to explore how to create a healthy school environment.   

This brief summary highlights the recurring themes for accelerating change and moving forward with obesity prevention efforts that emerged from the symposium: forging strategic partnerships; empowering local schools and communities; educating stakeholders; evaluating obesity prevention efforts; documenting the benefits of obesity prevention; innovating to address barriers; using a systems approach; and developing a long-term strategic plan.  

The findings of this IOM summary, along with two other symposia summaries that focused on steps taken by communities and industry, and a more detailed discussion of insights and regional examples were incorporated in the committee's final report that was released in 2006.