tion. He responded that actions often are based on politics rather than evidence. Is a legislative or executive branch champion ready to take on an issue? What do community partners think of the priorities? Are they willing to organize and mobilize around an issue? Does the current media climate contribute to progress? It also is influential when an organization such as the Institute of Medicine cites a particular action as important, he said, because that provides expert judgment to cite as justification for the action.
Robert Garcia asked Sorrell what attorneys general can do to enforce physical education regulations in individual states. Sorrell replied that one step is to get the issue on the agenda at national meetings of attorneys general. He also suggested emphasizing the child protection or public health aspects of physical education. Attorneys general do not move in lockstep, he noted, and each works within a unique combination of political pressures and legal authority.
In response to a question about the siloing of funds for different public health concerns, Sorrell noted that competition can exist among public health groups. Groups that receive funding do not want to give up that funding when priorities change. Organizing groups around a broad umbrella issue can reduce competition. Joseph Thompson, member of the Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention and moderator of the session, pointed out that combating obesity requires a multisector approach in which many organizations and individuals are involved.
Russell Pate asked about the “price sensitivity issue” in child care. Benjamin Neelon pointed out that child care facilities operate on a shoestring budget. If a facility can no longer serve fruit juice and must instead serve whole fruits and vegetables, there can be a substantial financial impact, including driving the facility out of business.
Thompson pointed out that the contractual process also can be a legal option to help prevent obesity. For example, government officials can require that healthy food be available at every meeting. Thompson referred to these issues of procurement as a “lever” that can be used to contribute to a healthy environment.