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Am J Public Health. 2019 Oct;109(10):1350-1357. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305221. Epub 2019 Aug 15.

A Framework for Increasing Equity Impact in Obesity Prevention.

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Shiriki K. Kumanyika is with the Department of Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA.


One of the most pressing unmet challenges for preventing and controlling epidemic obesity is ensuring that socially disadvantaged populations benefit from relevant public health interventions. Obesity levels are disproportionately high in ethnic minority, low-income, and other socially marginalized US population groups. Current policy, systems, and environmental change interventions target obesity-promoting aspects of physical, economic, social, and information environments but do not necessarily account for inequities in environmental contexts and, therefore, may perpetuate disparities.I propose a framework to guide practitioners and researchers in public health and other fields that contribute to obesity prevention in identifying ways to give greater priority to equity issues when undertaking policy, systems, and environmental change strategies. My core argument is that these approaches to improving options for healthy eating and physical activity should be linked to strategies that account for or directly address social determinants of health.I describe the framework rationale and elements and provide research and practice examples of its use in the US context. The approach may also apply to other health problems and in countries where similar inequities are observed.

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