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Funding Linked to State Obesity Legislation

States receiving funding through two programs passed twice as many obesity-related bills

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- States receiving funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's obesity-related programs were more likely to pass obesity-related legislation, according to research published in the January issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

James Hersey, Ph.D., of RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and colleagues analyzed four databases of legislative bills related to nutrition, physical activity, and obesity and found 135 obesity-related state bills enacted in 2005.

The researchers found that the states receiving funds from the CDC's Nutrition and Physical Activity Program to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases or the Coordinated School Health program passed more than twice as many obesity-related bills than states that had not received funding (3.3 versus 1.4 bills). The number of bills that were passed wasn't related to level of funding, however.

"These results are consistent with the CDC's expectation that state programs provide information and guidance to their partners who may use this information to influence policy initiatives and enact evidence-based legislation to prevent obesity," the authors write. "It is possible the funding of CDC grants works within the macro level of population, economic, and political characteristics of a state. Within this context, the funding of state programs may enable the programs and their partners to educate policymakers about the importance of obesity and types of policies that can help to address this epidemic."

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