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Child Obes. 2012 Jun;8(3):237-42. doi: 10.1089/chi.2011.0069.

The childhood obesity response in Florida: where do we stand?

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  • 1University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Department of Community and Family Health, Tampa, FL, USA.



Childhood obesity is a major public health problem that is the focus of many child health programs and policies throughout the nation. Florida in particular has high rates of childhood obesity and inconsistent policies to address the issue. This paper examines the scope and challenge of addressing the childhood obesity epidemic in Florida from the perspective of childhood obesity stakeholders.


As part of a larger assessment of the health of Florida's children for the Florida Child Health and Healthcare Quality Chartbook, the authors conducted focus groups and interviews with stakeholders from private and public organizations. The stakeholders represented healthcare providers, state and local agencies, and community-based programs that address nutrition and physical activity education, access to healthcare, health screenings, and environmental and policy change related to preventing childhood obesity.


Stakeholders identified best practices, challenges, barriers, and priorities for addressing childhood obesity. Multilevel approaches, emphasizing the family were identified as best practices, along with the need for environmental policy change. Funding and a need for data were identified as the biggest challenges, while overcoming barriers such as myths and misinformation and developing a unified obesity message were identified as motivators.


The major findings indicate that, although positive progress is being made in specific communities, a coordinated and comprehensive response is needed. To create policy and normative change, a statewide, multilevel framework is needed with a unifying message to better target policymakers. The framework should include targeted efforts at all levels that include education, promotion and environmental policy change.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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