States that received funding from two obesity prevention programs founded by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention implemented more than twice as many obesity-prevention policy initiatives as states that did not receive funding, according to a study by researchers from RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC. RTI is an independent, nonprofit research and development organization.

The study, published in the January/February issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, compared the number of policies implemented by states that receive federal funding and those that do not.

More than 112 laws were enacted to prevent obesity in 34 states funded by the federal Nutrition and Physical Activity Program to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases, the Coordinated School Health program, or both. Among the 17 states that did not receive funding, 23 such laws were enacted.

"These results are consistent with CDC’s expectation that state programs provide guidance to their partners who may influence policy initiatives and enact evidence-based legislation to prevent obesity," said James Hersey, PhD. a senior research psychologist and lead author of the study, in a statement. "Research into the process by which state programs influence the implementation of policies could help build the evidence base for policy changes that help prevent obesity."

The research, composed of 135 pieces of obesity-related state legislation, found that the legislation passed by funded states most commonly targeted community and school settings and most frequently addressed physical activity and nutrition.

"Future research will need to be directed toward the effects of various policies in changing the food environment, promoting physical activity, and changing behavior to help reverse the increased incidence of childhood and adult obesity," Hersey said.

The study was funded by CDC.

[Source: RTI]