Online Program

Analysis of nutrition policy and youth obesity

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Amanda Reich, MPH, Law and Public Policy, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
This study is designed to assess the effectiveness of state laws enacted with the purpose of improving nutrition among youth and reducing obesity rates. As youth obesity rates have tripled, states across the U.S. have begun enacting legislation designed to target this health issue. Categories of legislative approaches include structural (such as nutrition advisory councils), physical (including regulations on competitive foods), communication (including nutrition education), and surveillance policies (BMI measurement). The analysis compares the laws passed in 17 states between 2001-2011 with Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS) data to determine whether certain types of laws improve nutrition behaviors such as fruit and vegetable consumption, and ultimately decrease BMI. Results suggest that structural policies may be associated with lower BMI scores among youth, however other types of policies may influence nutrition behaviors. Demographic variables including race, education, poverty, and unemployment were also assessed to determine how they affect the analysis. Finally, two states (MA and NC) were selected for an in-depth analysis of the political process associated with passage of major legislation, as well as a qualitative analysis of the implementation of the state law. As states struggle to adequately address obesity among youth, schools offer an important intervention target. An evaluation of legislative options can help to prioritize limited resources towards the most effective approaches.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Compare strategies designed to improve nutrition in schools Evaluate the political process associated with passing statewide nutrition legislation

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted this research as part of the dissertation component of my doctoral degree and I have primary responsibility for data analysis and interpretation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.