Abstract for: The Identification of Potential Policy Intervention Points in the Battle against Childhood Obesity

The purpose of this research is to discuss how system dynamics and social marketing together can develop an understanding of how to effect behavioural change in over-weight and obese children and to reverse the current trends towards average weight gain. A review of the literature has uncovered many potential factors which comprise the obesogenic environment. The relationship between obesity and these factors is outlined. The research to date has also included a review of system dynamics work on the obesity issue. At the present stage we have conceptualised the model to include a population sector, a meal consumption sector and the consequent energy intake from these meals. Energy expenditure also plays a part in determining whether an individual gains weight and this too is addressed. We strive for the identification of the potential (versus the cost) of social marketing interventions to change the behaviour of children vis-à-vis food and physical activity.