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Prev Chronic Dis. 2010 Jul;7(4):A80. Epub 2010 Jun 15.

Surveillance of obesity-related policies in multiple environments: the Missouri Obesity, Nutrition, and Activity Policy Database, 2007-2009.

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Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research, George Warren Brown School of Social Work and School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, 660 S Euclid, Campus Box 8109, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA.



The objective of this study was to develop the Missouri Obesity, Nutrition, and Activity Policy Database, a geographically representative baseline of Missouri's existing obesity-related local policies on healthy eating and physical activity. The database is organized to reflect 7 local environments (government, community, health care, worksite, school, after school, and child care) and to describe the prevalence of obesity-related policies in these environments.


We employed a stratified nested cluster design using key informant interviews and review of public records to sample 2,356 sites across the 7 target environments for the presence or absence of obesity-related policies.


The school environment had the most policies (88%), followed by after school (47%) and health care (32%). Community, government, and child care environments reported smaller proportions of obesity-related policies but higher rates of funding for these policies. Worksite environments had low numbers of obesity-related policies and low funding levels (17% and 6%, respectively). Sixteen of the sampled counties had high obesity-related policy occurrence; 65 had moderate and 8 had low occurrences.


Except in Missouri schools, the presence of obesity-related policies is limited. More obesity-related policies are needed so that people have access to environments that support the model behaviors necessary to halt the obesity epidemic. The Missouri Obesity, Nutrition, and Activity Policy Database provides a benchmark for evaluating progress toward the development of obesity-related policies across multiple environments in Missouri.

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