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Table 1 Roles of government in obesity prevention

From: Obesity prevention: the role of policies, laws and regulations

Action area Description Rationale Examples
Leadership Providing a visible lead
Reinforcing the seriousness of the problem
Demonstrating a readiness to take serious action
All societal change needs strong leadership
The role of governments is central, powerful and carries sufficient authority to stimulate a sustained multi-sector response
Government voices speak loudly about problems
Government actions speak louder about solutions
Being visible in the media
Role modelling healthy behaviours (at an individual level)
Role modelling healthy environments (at a government agency level)
Creating mechanisms for a whole-of-government response to obesity
Lifting the priority for health (versus commercial) outcomes
Advocacy Advocating for a multi-sector response across all societal sectors (governments, the private sector, civil society, and the public) Solutions will need to involve many sectors within governments and all sectors outside government
Authoritative mechanisms will be needed to achieve cross-sectoral collaboration and coordination
Advocating to the private sector for corporate responsibility around marketing to children
Creating a high-level taskforce to oversee and monitor multi-sector actions
Encouraging healthy lifestyles for individual and families
Funding Securing increased and continuing funding to create healthy environments and encourage healthy eating and physical activity Changing environments requires funding
Social marketing and programs require funding
Supporting actions (eg training, research, evaluation, monitoring) require funding
Public good funding comes mainly from government sources
Establishing a health promotion foundation (eg using an hypothecated tobacco tax) to fund programs and research
Moving from project funding to program and service funding for obesity prevention
Creating centres of excellence for research, evaluation and monitoring
Policy Developing, implementing, and monitoring a set of policies, regulations, taxes, and subsidies that make environments less obesogenic and more health promoting Most behaviours are heavily influenced by environmental factors (physical, economic, policy, socio-cultural)
Changing environments often requires policy drivers
Education-based approaches are weak without supportive environments
Banning the marketing of unhealthy foods to children
Subsidising public transport and active transport more than car transport
Requiring 'traffic light' front of pack labelling of food nutrient profiles
Restricting the sale of unhealthy foods in schools