Policymaker Survey 2

Rates of obesity have been rapidly rising worldwide, and its health impacts can be myriad and serious. Policymakers will be faced with dealing with the financial consequences of the obesity epidemic – but they are also well placed to take action to control the epidemic and its health repercussions, through better prevention (involving many government departments) and management. However, do they have an accurate perception of obesity? Do they appreciate the extent of the epidemic, the drivers of obesity and the policies and actions that need to be taken to make a difference?

To address these questions, the European Association for the Study of Obesity, with C3 Collaborating for Health, commissioned a survey of over 90 policymakers, from legislative and executive branches of government, in three countries – England, Spain and the United States.

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The survey highlighted some strong points of agreement, but also pointed out some gaps in knowledge about the extent of obesity, and the responses from the policymakers did not always reflect the reality of policies that are in place. Without solid knowledge of the extent of the problem and the existing evidence for what can be done, national policies will not adequately address the reality of tackling obesity in the population.

This initiative was supported by an unrestricted grant from Novo Nordisk A/S.

Note: This is the first phase in a more extensive project to be carried out in 2014, extending the survey to a further eight countries, allowing for more extensive analysis of gaps and trends in policymakers’ knowledge of obesity policy and practice.

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