A recent forum brought together people working to reduce obesity in their communities to learn from each other, make connections, and take action.
Although diet and exercise are key aspects of the likelihood of obesity, there are many environmental factors outside of a persons’ control that limit access to healthy food. Communities and organizations can be an integral part of the health of their community members. At a recent forum sponsored by Wilder Foundation with InCommons, the focus was on increasing access to healthy foods.
Facts and strategies
Amy Leite and Melanie Ferris, researchers from Wilder Research, provided some background facts on the causes and circumstances of obesity, and presented promising strategies and examples to increase availability, affordability and access to healthier food.
Leite also looked at connections between obesity and food insecurity, which is defined as instances where the ability to acquire healthy food is limited. She cited a landmark 1995 study, Does hunger cause obesity? It was the first to link obesity with issues related to food insecurity. Additional research has identified a potential link between households who experience food insecurity and rates of obesity, especially among women. Still, Leite cautioned, the links between them remain unclear, as they are complex issues influenced by multiple factors.
Ferris pointed out some strategies address both concerns. including:
The forum showcased three projects underway that are having an impact. It also included an interactive discussion in which participants responded to the questions, What strategy would have the greatest impact in your community? and, What ways can we work together to reduce barriers to healthy eating?
The discussion led to creative problem-solving and idea sharing. Find some of the discussion highlights and add yours at InCommons!