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Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity (2009)

Chapter: Appendix E: Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Statement of Task." Transportation Research Board, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. 2009. Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12674.
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E
Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee of the Institute of Medicine will examine evidence on childhood obesity prevention efforts by local government entities, with a focus on identifying promising practices, and will develop a set of recommended practices for disseminating to local governments broadly. The audience includes mayors; county, city, or township commissioners or other officials; local health departments; local boards of health; city and transportation planners; and other relevant local commissions and public entities. This study will draw from and build on relevant Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports, especially Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance and Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?, as well as secondary sources and seminal primary sources. In carrying out its task the committee will consider the range of childhood obesity prevention efforts that have been considered or implemented by local governments and those that have been evaluated, and from that information will compile a list of promising practices in childhood obesity prevention, noting promising strategies for addressing disparities and disproportionately affected children and youth, identifying other public health benefits, and summarizing successful strategies for sustained funding and financing of obesity prevention initiatives. The committee will develop a succinct report that summarizes the range of local government efforts; identifies and describes rationale for selected promising practices; discusses other relevant public health benefits of these promising practices; and outlines a set of recommendations on priority immediate actions and practices for local governments. As relevant to the task, state government actions may also be considered.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Statement of Task." Transportation Research Board, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. 2009. Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12674.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Statement of Task." Transportation Research Board, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. 2009. Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12674.
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Page 111
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Statement of Task." Transportation Research Board, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. 2009. Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12674.
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The prevalence of childhood obesity is so high in the United States that it may reduce the life expectancy of today's generation of children. While parents and other adult caregivers play a fundamental role in teaching children about healthy behaviors, even the most positive efforts can be undermined by local environments that are poorly suited to supporting healthy behaviors. For example, many communities lack ready sources of healthy food choices, such as supermarkets and grocery stores. Or they may not provide safe places for children to walk or play. In such communities, even the most motivated child or adolescent may find it difficult to act in healthy ways. Local governments--with jurisdiction over many aspects of land use, food marketing, community planning, transportation, health and nutrition programs, and other community issues--are ideally positioned to promote behaviors that will help children and adolescents reach and maintain healthy weights.

Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity presents a number of recommendations that touch on the vital role of government actions on all levels--federal, state, and local--in childhood obesity prevention. The book offers healthy eating and physical activity strategies for local governments to consider, making it an excellent resource for mayors, managers, commissioners, council members, county board members, and administrators.

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