Identification and Organization

The committee began by compiling all previous obesity-related recommendations from the IOM and other relevant sources. It should be noted that the IOM and National Research Council (NRC) reports all were developed to fulfill a specific task that defines the scope of each report and consequently may limit the scope of its recommendations.

The general criterion used in deciding which recommendations to review was that they were relevant to population-based obesity prevention approaches; that is, they were intended to lower the mean body mass index (BMI) level and decrease the rate at which people enter the upper end of the BMI distribution. Although searches were not limited by the date of publication, the year 2005 marked the beginning of the National Academies’ issuance of obesity prevention-related recommendations. The 2005 IOM report Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance and the 2005 Transportation Research Board report Does the Built Environment Influence Physical Activity? demonstrated increasing recognition of the complex, multifaceted nature of the many factors that influence energy balance (IOM, 2005; TRB/IOM, 2005). This recognition led to the examination of obesity prevention strategies that moved beyond a biomedical model and an individual behavior change approach to encompass multilevel, multisector policy and environmental approaches. National Academies reports and reports outside of the National Academies that include recommendations emerging from this conceptualization were published mainly in 2005 and beyond (with some exceptions).

The criteria for including a report and consequently its recommendations in the committee’s review were as follows:

  included only population-based obesity prevention strategies;

  used established procedures for making recommendations (e.g., evidence-based, transparency in decisions made);

  included only environmental and policy strategies (as opposed to strategies focused on individual behavior or biomedical approaches); and

  was derived from some type of expert task force or committee consensus.

The quest for relevant publications included an online search of several databases and publication lists of relevant organizations and a review of references

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