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What determines public support of obesity prevention?


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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