Halting the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Identifying Decisive Interventions in Complex Systems

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Dec 12, 2019
by Claire Kidwell
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Halting the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Identifying Decisive Interventions in Complex Systems

Latest Salzburg Global program seeks to identify ways to enact system change Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

Obesity and overweight affect more than two billion people worldwide. As projections continue to show an upward trend in most countries, there are profound consequences for physical and mental health. Salzburg Global Seminar’s latest Health and Health Care Innovation program, Halting the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Identifying Decisive Interventions in Complex Systems, seeks to identify solutions.

Between December 14 and December 19, 2019, experts from around the world in nutrition, health, and advocacy will convene at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria. Together they will review and build on existing strategies to enable all children to grow up at a healthy weight. Participants will be encouraged to broaden their understanding through networking and collaborating on new policy ideas to better support families.

A key factor is ensuring public health interventions can reach the most socially disadvantaged populations. Participants will investigate challenges around food access, income inequality, inadequate public transportation, and the scarcity of affordable housing. During the program, participants will also consider what the key drivers are to prevent childhood obesity and how to ensure equitable access to healthy, nutritious food and opportunities for regular exercise.

John Lotherington, program director responsible for Salzburg Global’s health and health care programs, said, “It’s not a problem about individuals and their habits. It’s about societies and systems. This program is going to bring together a diverse group of the most innovative people from across the world to work on the systems change we need to tackle this. We are delighted to be undertaking this again in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, building a Culture of Health.’

This program will highlight how global innovations and ideas in the childhood obesity prevention space could help optimize health outcomes for children everywhere. It will build on previous programs, including last year’s program on creating healthy environments and shared value for children, plus the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s approach toward creating a Culture of Health.

This program seeks to:

  • Seed new and innovative approaches through international and cross-border exchange and the transmission of best practice.
  • Create the basis for ongoing networking and collaborations among participants and the institutions they represent.
  • Co-create action plans designed and agreed by participants for them to take forward as appropriate at local and regional levels, and to leverage the global scope of the project to influence public opinion and democratic debate and policymaking.
  • Issue a Salzburg Statement identifying best practice and framing opportunities for addressing the obesity epidemic.
  • Publish an agenda-setting report

The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Halting the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Identifying Decisive Interventions in Complex Systems, is part of our Health and Health Care Innovation multi-year series. This program is being held in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.