With two-thirds of adults and nearly one-fifth of children overweight—and at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases—obesity and its related health problems have strained the U.S. health care system to the point that Americans cannot afford to put on more pounds. Reversing the U.S. obesity epidemic requires population-level changes that focus on adopting policies and creating environments that support healthier lifestyle choices.
The CDC first published a set of comprehensive recommendations to promote healthy eating and active living, as well as reducing the prevalence of obesity in the United States. ICF supported the guidance as part of the Common Community Measures for Obesity Prevention Project (COCOMO). The project focused on empowering communities to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into their daily routines. COCOMO identified a core set of community-level policy and environmental change measures that local officials, researchers, and program evaluators can use to target obesity prevention efforts.
ICF summarized the existing evidence and convened a panel of experts to establish the 24 community-level strategies and measures for obesity prevention published in the July 2009 issue of MMWR Recommendations and Reports. An Implementation and Measurement Guide for public health practitioners was also widely disseminated. With recommendations divided into the six categories shown below, the COCOMO report systematically describes each strategy, summarizes applicable evidence, and presents a suggested measurement for assessing progress over time.
Strategy Categories for Common Community Measures for Childhood Obesity Prevention
- Category 1: Strategies to Promote the Availability of Affordable Healthy Food and Beverages
- Category 2: Strategies to Support Healthy Food and Beverage Choices
- Category 3: Strategy to Encourage Breastfeeding
- Category 4: Strategies to Encourage Physical Activity or Limit Sedentary Activity
- Category 5: Strategies to Create Safe Communities That Support Physical Activity
- Category 6: Strategy to Encourage Communities to Organize for Change