Motivating systems-oriented research on environmental and policy changes for obesity prevention

Lawrence J Cheskin, R. Frutchey, Ann Yelmokas McDermott, L. Esposito, Bruce Lee, S. Kumanyika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Research on the types of interventions needed for population-level prevention of childhood obesity in complex societal systems can benefit from greater use of systems-science concepts and tools. Objectives: We report outcomes of a funding programme promoting incorporation of systems-science approaches into studies of imminent policy or environmental changes potentially impacting childhood obesity. Methods: Seven funding cycles over 3 years yielded 172 initial submissions from 29 US states and 25 other countries were analyzed. Results: Submissions focused primarily on aspects of school or child-care settings, parks and recreational settings, or access to healthy food; about half reflected attention to systems perspectives. Conclusions: Analysis of initial submissions as well as the 15 funded projects showed some success in motivating use of systems concepts and tools but suggested the need for a more focused effort to educate and prepare the childhood obesity prevention research community for this potentially crucial type of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric obesity
StateAccepted/In press - 2016


  • Childhood obesity
  • Funding mechanisms
  • Prevention
  • Systems science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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