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Obes Rev. 2007 May;8 Suppl 2:99-108.

Mapping public policy options responding to obesity: the case of Spain.

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Department of Public Health, Observatory of Public Policies and Health, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain.


This study assesses the opinions of the main Spanish stakeholders from food and physical exercise policy networks on public policy options for responding to obesity. We followed the multi-criteria mapping methodology in the framework of the European project 'Policy options in responding to obesity' (PorGrow), through a structured interview to 21 stakeholders. A four-step approach was taken: options, criteria, scoring and weighting, obtaining in this way a measure of the performance of each option which integrates qualitative and quantitative information. In an overall analysis, the more popular policy options where those grouped as educational initiatives: include food and health in the school curriculum, improve health education to the general public, improve the training of health professionals in obesity care and prevention, incentives to caterers to provide healthier menus and improve community sports facilities. Fiscal measures as subsidies and taxes had the lowest support. The criteria assessed as priorities were grouped as efficacy and societal benefits. Obesity in Spain can be approached through public policies, although the process will not be easy or immediate. The feasibility of changes requires concerned public policymakers developing long-term actions taking into account the map of prioritized options by the stakeholders.

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