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What determines public support of obesity prevention?
  1. Anja Hilbert1,
  2. Winfried Rief1,
  3. Elmar Braehler2
  1. 1Department of Psychology, Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapy, Philipps University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany
  2. 2Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A Hilbert
 Department of Psychology, Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapy, Philipps University of Marburg, Gutenbergstrasse 18, D-35032 Marburg, Germany; hilbert{at}staff.uni-marburg.de

Abstract

Objective: To determine public support of obesity prevention.

Design: Representative population-based survey.

Setting: Random digit dialling telephone survey of non-institutionalised individuals aged ⩾14 years in Germany.

Participants: Representative sample of 1000 individuals.

Main outcome measures: Interview-based assessment of prevention support, problem identification, causal attributions and responsibility beliefs regarding obesity.

Results: Support for obesity prevention with a focus on behavioural change in children (89.7%) and provision of information in adults (82.2%) was substantial, but regulations were less supported (42.2%). Predictors of prevention support were attributing causes of obesity to the food environment and lack of physical activity, greater problem identification, societal responsibility beliefs and sociodemographic characteristics including female gender and higher age. An information deficit concerning the definition, prevalence, and environmental and genetic risk factors was identified.

Conclusion: Results show a high public readiness for obesity prevention with a focus on individual behavioural change, but not for regulations. Addressing specific information deficits regarding the definition, prevalence and causes of obesity could further enhance the public’s understanding of obesity and help to establish obesity prevention measures.

  • BMI, body mass index
  • PCA, principal components analyses

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Footnotes

  • Funding: This project was funded from internal resources within the Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University of Leipzig. AH was supported by educational grant 01GP0491 from the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung. Any external funding body had no input into protocol development, data collection, analyses or interpretation.

  • Competing interests: None.

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