The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity
Sustaining National Action
Effectiveness of the public health response to overweight and obesity requires strong leadership, regular monitoring, and committed support of all—government; industry; public, private, and professional organizations; communities; schools; families; and individuals. These features will ensure sustained action, productive collaboration, and ongoing progress toward the vision of this Call To Action.
A network of leadership across the country needs to be established to ensure that actions are employed in the appropriate settings nationwide. This network should be structured at the organizational, industrial, State, and community levels. The creation of a public-private partnership in the form of a national steering committee could provide an overarching perspective and a more centralized leadership to such efforts. A dialogue among all these spheres of leadership is essential. Several key functions of this leadership structure are described in the following section.
The effectiveness of a CARE approach to overweight and obesity must be assessed at regular intervals. Monitoring should include gathering new information on overweight and obesity as well as reporting on the status of current interventions.
- Update on the biological, epidemiological, and psychological aspects of obesity and overweight.
- Review of surveillance data systems to track overweight and obesity.
- Update on the latest behavioral and pharmacological interventions for overweight and obesity.
- Discussion of new ideas and goals for continued national activity.
- Reporting on progress based on measurable objectives, such as those outlined in Healthy People 2010.
- Discussion of the progress achieved through actions undertaken within the various settings.
- Reporting on the status of current policies, programs, and interventions.
- Creation and dissemination of a library of best practices based on evidence-based programs.
- Recognition of exemplary intervention programs, for example, through an awards program.
Monitoring will ensure that all members of the various settings can communicate their ideas and strategies. Monitoring will allow planners to see which objectives are reached or exceeded as well as those that fall short of expectations.
In addition to strong leadership and regular evaluation, a successful public health effort requires active promotion. Continuous public education on the magnitude of the problem of overweight and obesity will reinforce the goals of the national effort and will encourage public participation. Therefore, the national action to combat overweight and obesity should:
- Foster a consistent message to the public regarding the risks of overweight and obesity as well as the mechanisms by which a person can adopt a healthy lifestyle.
- Target high-risk groups for education on overweight and obesity.
- Promote interventions that address disparities in the prevalence of overweight and obesity.
- Seek to improve the general sensitivity to the social stigma of overweight and obesity.
Committed Government Support
Local, State, Tribal, and national governments have previously declared their support of efforts to maintain and improve America’s health. Such governmental backing may be enhanced through the following:
- Creation of laws and policies that support a healthy physical and nutritional environment for the public.
- Allocation of resources to both government and private organizations to carry out national action to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity.
- Provision of authority to specific Federal and State agencies to enforce policies aimed at reducing overweight and obesity.
At a minimum, a national steering committee should convene an annual meeting modeled after the Surgeon General’s Listening Session. This event would provide leaders with a useful forum for information exchange and enhance their abilities to carry out the functions listed above.
Last revised: January 11, 2007