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Influences of obesity in the social and economic environment: the role of a multisector alliance in BC

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Rapidly rising obesity rates are a major public health concern. Obesity is a well-established risk factor for many chronic diseases, the leading causes of death and disability in Canada with costs estimated at $4.3 billion per year. The fundamental causes of obesity are believed to be societal, resulting from environments that promote sedentary lifestyles and the consumption of high fat, energy-dense diets. In 2007, a multisector Alliance was formed in BC to study obesity prevention through policy changes in the built environment. The purpose of this report is to provide a synthesis of the literature looking at influences of obesity in the social and economic environment. Although more evidence is needed, there is currently enough evidence to support broadening the scope of obesity prevention to include influences within the social environment, including schools, food, and advertising and marketing, and in the economic environment including neighbourhood SES and food costs.
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