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VOLUME 48 | NUMBER 2.1 | APRIL 2013


Obesity Prevention: The Impact of Local Health Departments

Keywords: Behavioral risk factor surveillance system;multilevel logit;local health departments;obesity prevention

Objective: To examine the association between bodyweight status and provision of population-based prevention services.

Data Sources: The National Association of City and County Health Officials 2005 Profile survey data, linked with two cross-sections of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey in 2004 and 2005.

Study Design: Multilevel logistic regressions were used to examine the association between provision of obesity-prevention services and the change in risk of being obese or morbidly obese among BRFSS respondents. The estimation sample was stratified by sex. Low-income samples were also examined. Falsification tests were used to determine whether there is counterevidence.

Principal Findings: Provision of population-based obesity-prevention services within the jurisdiction of local health departments and specifically those provided by the local health departments are associated with reduced risks of obesity and morbid obesity from 2004 to 2005. The magnitude of the association appears to be stronger among low-income populations and among women. Results of the falsification tests provide additional support of the main findings.

Conclusions: Population-based obesity-prevention services may be useful in containing the obesity epidemic.

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