The effectiveness of community-based programs for obesity prevention and control
Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Abstract: Obesity is a major public health concern worldwide. The increasing prevalence of obesity in all ages, especially children and adolescents, has gained global attention and it is widely known that obesity increases the risk of many chronic conditions and illnesses, such as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Obesity is a complex metabolic disorder, however, that is difficult to treat and manage. Therefore, despite the increased awareness about obesity-related health risks, obesity prevention and control has been a major challenge for health professionals. Lifestyle modification is easily prescribed, however, multiple barriers to implementation exist. Barriers include but are not limited to: behavioral and motivational factors, anti-fat bias, access to and reimbursement of educational programs, availability of healthy affordable foods, ongoing support systems that are culturally and community attuned, and comorbidities that limit physical activity and quality of life. Further, the current health care systems are not all designed to focus on health promotion and wellness. These contributing factors complicate weight management and control. Community-based programs are one potentially feasible approach that can assist individuals, families, and communities in developing healthy behaviors that promote and maintain weight loss. This review reports on nine worldwide current studies on the effectiveness of community-based programs in diverse populations targeting obesity. The purpose of this review is to examine evidenced-based interventions that can assist in the development of standard practices in the battle against obesity.
Keywords: obesity, community, prevention, physical activity, nutrition
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