Are Our Actions Aligned with Our Evidence?

The Skinny on Changing the Landscape of Obesity

Published in: Obesity, v. 21, no. 3, Mar. 2013, p. 419-420

Posted on RAND.org on March 01, 2013

by Tamara Dubowitz, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Elizabeth D. Steiner, Jose J. Escarce, Rebecca L. Collins

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Recent debate about the role of food deserts in the United States (i.e., places that lack access to healthy foods) has prompted discussion on policies being enacted, including efforts that encourage the placement of full-service supermarkets into food deserts. Other initiatives to address obesogenic neighborhood features include land use zoning and parks renovations. Yet, there is little evidence to demonstrate that such policies effect change. While we suspect most researchers and policymakers would agree that effective neighborhood change could be a powerful tool in combating obesity, we desperately need strong and sound evidence to guide decisions about where and how to invest.

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