sibility lies with the academic and research community, as well as with government and private funders and the leadership of journals that publish research in this area. Necessary supports will include increasing understanding of systems thinking and incorporating it into research-related activities, creating and maintaining resources to support the utilization of evidence, establishing standards of quality for different types of evidence, and supporting the generation of evidence, each of which is described in more detail below. Finally, it will be necessary to communicate, disseminate, evaluate, and refine the L.E.A.D. framework.

Incorporate Systems Thinking

Recommendation 2: Researchers, government and private funders, educators, and journal editors should incorporate systems thinking into their research-related activities.

To implement this recommendation:

  • Researchers should use systems thinking to guide the development of environmental and policy interventions and study designs.

  • Government and private funders should encourage the use of systems thinking in their requests for proposals and include systems considerations in proposal evaluations.

  • Universities, government agencies such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and public health organizations responsible for educating public health practitioners and related researchers should establish training capacity for the science and understanding of systems thinking and the use of systems mapping and other quantitative or qualitative systems analysis tools.

  • Journal editors should encourage the use of systems thinking for addressing complex problems by developing panels of peer reviewers with expertise in this area and charging them with making recommendations for how authors could use systems thinking more effectively in their manuscripts.

Build a Resource Base

Recommendation 3: Government, foundations, professional organizations, and research institutions should build a system of resources (people, compendiums of knowledge, registries of implementation experience) to support evidence-based public policy decision making and research for complex health challenges, including obesity prevention.

To implement this recommendation:

  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with other public- and private-sector partners, should establish a sustainable registry of reports on evidence for environmental and policy actions for obesity prevention.

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