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Field Stories Can Shape Public Policy for Obesity Prevention

Collaborations with CDC and state agencies enhance messages for healthier eating, lifestyles

Field Stories Can Shape Public Policy for Obesity Prevention

FRIDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Stories from the field can help highlight policy, systems, and environmental approaches effective in obesity prevention, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Marissa Zwald, M.P.H., from Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, describe the methods used to collect, develop, and disseminate stories featuring comprehensive obesity prevention efforts that various state health departments are planning and implementing. Potential challenges and recommendations that public health practitioners may consider when developing similar stories are presented.

The researchers recommend that when collecting, developing, and disseminating stories from the field, stakeholder communication is necessary early in the process; collect stories systematically; use experienced writers and incorporate varied stories; recognize the diverse role partners play in the stories; devote sufficient time for review and graphic design; and explore innovative dissemination methods.

"Stories can complement quantitative data by featuring accomplishments, demonstrating the value of various initiatives, describing lessons learned to help shape practices in the field, and engaging broader discussions of promising policy, systems, and environmental approaches to support healthy eating and active living," the authors write.

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