Prevention in Focus

Webinar Series

Cost Effective Interventions That Can Prevent Obesity and Chronic Disease, and Improve Health Equity

January 19, 2023
Steve Gortmaker
Steve Gortmaker, Ph.D.

Harvard T.H. Chan
School of Public Health

View the Webinar

About the Webinar

As obesity prevalence continues to increase in the United States, along with widening disparities, and social and commercial determinants of health and structural racism continue their influence, interventions with good evidence for implementation and effectiveness have attracted attention. Decision makers are interested in what they can change to improve child nutrition, physical activity, health-related outcomes, and health equity, along with getting the best value for dollars spent.

In this session, Dr. Gortmaker discussed how the CHOICES (Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study) team has evaluated a broad range of strategies for their impact on population health, health equity, and cost-effectiveness. Metrics for effectively communicating health-related outcomes and health equity are highlighted. Interventions include those already effectively implemented such as the WIC food package change (2009), the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) (2012), nationwide calorie labeling in fast food locations (2018), and sugary drink excise taxes. Dr. Gortmaker also discussed the CHOICES team’s learning collaborative partnership work with 21 city, county, and state health departments and their community partners, and the CHOICES Community of Practice. Results indicate two different pathways that can lead to success at cost-effectively improving overall population health and health equity.

About Steve Gortmaker

Dr. Steve Gortmaker is Professor of the Practice of Health Sociology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He directs the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Prevention Research Center. Current work includes the CHOICES project, which is evaluating the cost effectiveness, and population and health equity impact of a wide range of childhood obesity preventive strategies. This work incudes collaborations with 21 different city, county, and state health departments and community partners. Dr. Gortmaker has been an author on more than 270 publications, including recent CHOICES papers in Health Affairs, Preventive Medicine, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

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