Policy, systems, and environmental approaches for obesity prevention: a framework to inform local and state action

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Environmental Public Health | Health Policy | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion


The public health literature has not fully explored the complexities of the policy process as they relate to public health practice and obesity prevention. We conducted a review of the literature across the policy science and public health fields, distilled key theories of policy making, and developed a framework to inform policy, systems, and environmental change efforts on obesity prevention. Beginning with a conceptual description, we focus on understanding three domains of the policy process: the problem domain, the policy domain, and the political domain. We identify key activities in the policy process including the following: (a) assessing the social and political environment; (b) engaging, educating and collaborating with key individuals and groups; (c) identifying and framing the problem; (d) utilizing available evidence; (e) identifying policy solutions; and (f) building public support and political will. The article provides policy change resources and case studies to guide and support local and state efforts around obesity prevention.


advocacy, environmental change, obesity prevention, policy

DOI of Published Version



J Public Health Manag Pract. 2013 May-Jun;19(3 Suppl 1):S23-33. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182841709. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID