Policy Points Obesity has emerged as a main threat to future improvements in population health, and there is little evidence that the epidemic is retreating. The traditional model of “calories in, calories out,” which has guided public health policy for decades, is increasingly viewed as far too simple a framing to explain the evolution of the epidemic or guide public policy. Advances in the science of obesity, coming from many fields, highlight the structural nature of the risk, which has provided an evidence base to justify and guide policies toward addressing the social and environmental drivers of obesity. Societies and researchers need to play the long game in that widespread reductions in obesity in the short run are unlikely. Nonetheless, there are opportunities. Policies specifically targeting the food environment such as taxing high-calorie beverages and foods, restricting the marketing of junk foods to children, enhancing food labeling, and improving the dietary environment at schools may yield long-run benefits.
- life expectancy
- population health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health