Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evidence-based public health interventions for policy makers identified

Date:
August 20, 2012
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Researchers analyzed more than 1,000 scientific studies and identified the public health interventions with the strongest evidence for improving dietary habits, increasing physical activity and reducing smoking. Economic incentives to make healthier foods more affordable, improved sidewalk, street and land-use design to encourage physical activity, and smoking bans are among the 43 most effective interventions that were identified.

Researchers analyzed more than 1,000 scientific studies and identified the public health interventions with the strongest evidence for improving dietary habits, increasing physical activity and reducing smoking. Economic incentives to make healthier foods more affordable, improved sidewalk, street and land-use design to encourage physical activity, and smoking bans are among the 43 most effective interventions that were identified.

Government policies that make healthy foods more affordable, improved sidewalk, street and land-use design to encourage physical activity, and bans on public, workplace or residence smoking are among 43 effective public health strategies identified in an American Heart Association statement.

The statement is being published in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal, and is based on researchers reviewing and grading more than 1,000 international studies of diet, physical activity and anti-tobacco public health interventions.

"Policy makers should now gather together and say, 'These are the things that work -- let's implement many right away, and the rest as soon as possible,'" said Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., chair of the statement writing group. "We have compiled an evidence-based menu of effective interventions for policy makers, stakeholders and the public based on the results of numerous scientific studies."

Examples of successful interventions include:

  • School and workplace interventions, such as school garden programs, increased availability and types of playground spaces and equipment, structured physical activity breaks during class or work hours and comprehensive wellness programs.
  • Economic incentives to make healthy foods more affordable, strategies to discourage consumption of less healthy foods, higher tobacco taxes to reduce use and funding for prevention programs.
  • Direct mandates and restrictions that limit certain nutrients in foods (e.g., salt, trans fat), restrictions on advertising and marketing of foods/drinks to children and restrictions on public, workplace or residential smoking.
  • Local environmental changes, such as better access to supermarkets near homes, walking-friendly neighborhoods, better integration of residential, school, business, and public areas and greater access to recreational sites.
  • Media and education campaigns with sustained and focused messages to increase eating specific healthy foods or to reduce smoking.

In addition to identifying the 43 evidence-based interventions in these six categories, the researchers also identified several that were either ineffective or needed more study.

For example, there isn't enough research to conclude whether nutritional labeling or icons on food packages and menus -- widely used or being considered in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and India -- encourages healthier eating. Also, there was not strong evidence that local accessibility to fast food restaurants or small convenience stores negatively affected dietary habits or weight.

"As a society, we must implement evidence-based, cost-effective public health interventions without delay -- we now know they work. New initiatives and partnerships are needed to translate this knowledge into action," said Mozaffarian, who is also co-director of the Program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology and associate professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass.

Less than one percent of Americans meet the American Heart Association criteria for ideal cardiovascular health, and poor diet, sedentary lifestyles and tobacco use are the leading causes of preventable disease.

Co-authors are Ashkan Afshin, M.D., M.P.H.; Neal L. Benowitz, M.D.; Vera Bittner, M.D., M.S.P.H.; Stephen R. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D.; Harold A. Franch, M.D.; David R. Jacobs Jr., Ph.D.; William E. Kraus, M.D.; Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D.; Debra A. Krummel, Ph.D., R.D.; Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D.; Laurie P. Whitsel, Ph.D. and Neil A. Zakai, M.D., M.Sc. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Mozaffarian, A. Afshin, N. L. Benowitz, V. Bittner, S. R. Daniels, H. A. Franch, D. R. Jacobs, W. E. Kraus, P. M. Kris-Etherton, D. A. Krummel, B. M. Popkin, L. P. Whitsel, N. A. Zakai. Population Approaches to Improve Diet, Physical Activity, and Smoking Habits: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 2012; DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0b013e318260a20b

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Evidence-based public health interventions for policy makers identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820160914.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2012, August 20). Evidence-based public health interventions for policy makers identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820160914.htm
American Heart Association. "Evidence-based public health interventions for policy makers identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820160914.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Health officials warn that without further intervention, the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach 1.4 million by January. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins