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The Association between Funding for Statewide Programs and Enactment of Obesity Legislation

      Abstract

      Objective

      As part of a national effort to prevent and control obesity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Nutrition and Physical Activity Program to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases (NPAO) provides funding to states to improve access to healthful food and increase opportunities for physical activity. The CDC also provides funding to states to build Coordinated School Health (CSH) programs across agencies and within schools to help reduce chronic disease risk factors. This paper investigates the possible role of these programs in state policy change.

      Methods

      Descriptive study of state legislation targeting obesity prevention passed in 2005. Units of analysis were 135 pieces of obesity-related state legislation identified within 4 legislative databases. Legislation was coded into programmatic setting and obesity-prevention strategy categories.

      Results

      On average, states receiving NPAO or CSH program funding passed twice as many bills as states not yet funded.

      Conclusions and Implications

      The statewide obesity prevention and school health programs may have contributed to states enacting more obesity-related legislation. Further research into the process by which state programs influence the enactment and effective implementation of policies could help build the evidence base for policy changes that help prevent obesity.

      Key Words

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