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What works today?

Insights in the effectiveness of childhood obesity interventions, and associations between obesity-related factors and youth’s weight
PhD ceremony:A. (Annita) Kobes
When:June 17, 2021
Start:12:45
Supervisors:prof. dr. M.C. (Greetje) Timmerman, dr. T. (Tina) Kretschmer
Co-supervisor:dr. P.R. (Pauline) Schreuder
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
What works today?

Childhood obesity is a global problem that has been addressed by numerous interventions aiming to influence diet and physical (in)activity. These interventions often target individual-level behaviors, however, it is important to recognize that childhood obesity is a complex problem that does not merely play on the personal level. Individual-level outcomes, such as weight, are not just influenced by personal characteristics such as diet and physical activity, but also by interactions with the broader environment, such as parental level of education, or proximity to fast food restaurants.

In four studies, Kobes examines the effectiveness of obesity-related lifestyle interventions, and tests the association between several measures and factors, and youth’s weight at various levels of influence. In the first study, an overview is given of the effectiveness of obesity-related lifestyle interventions in the form of a meta-synthesis. The second study investigates the association between weight and feeding behaviors of young children, and characteristics of mothers’ social network members. The third study is an evaluation of Jongeren Op Gezond Gewicht (Youth At Healthy Weight), the largest childhood obesity community approach in the Netherlands. Finally, the fourth study tests whether the quantity of state-level obesity-related legislation in the United States is associated with adolescents BMI and overweight/obesity prevalence.

Together, these studies present an analysis of relevant actions and factors at different levels related to the prevention and reduction of childhood obesity, a public health issue that is regarded as one of the greatest of the 21st century.