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Perspectives from United Kingdom and United States Policy States Policy Makers on Obesity Prevention: Workshop Summary
Develop a range of programs and services in recognition of the diversity of the population and the fact that different interventions will reach different people.
Use data to target resources and stimulate further action (with the observation that more scientific evidence for the effectiveness of local interventions is needed).
Model healthy practices, from the contents of vending machines in public buildings, to procurement of food for public institutions, to the mayor’s setting an example for the community.
Tap into resources from multiple sources, such as philanthropies, grants, and new commercial and residential development, especially in this era of declining public revenues.
At the end of the day, Jackson and Dietz summarized some of the main messages of the workshop. They stressed that the only way to reach people in a way that causes them to change their behavior is to use language and a context that resonate with them. Identifying a person as “obese” and expecting that this tag will result in such changes is unrealistic and can even backfire. The presenters called for research that can help in determining the effectiveness of different interventions so that resources can be targeted to bring the most promising approaches to scale.