Abstract for: Building and estimating a dynamic model of weight gain and loss for individuals and populations

The obesity trends in the U.S. and many other countries are alarming. Models that can assess the potential impact of alternative interventions are much needed in turning the obesity trend. The purpose of this research is to study the dynamics of obesity in the United States over time to build a generic system dynamics model that can be used for obesity policy analysis at multiple levels. The model is multi-level in the sense that it builds on individual level models for both childhood and adulthood to capture the energy balance and weight change throughout the life of individuals, and aggregates individual level models to population level trends. We discuss the application of simulated method of moments to the calibration of this model. This approach enables community, state, or national policy analysis building on a calibrated model and offers promising methodological advances in model calibration in the field of system dynamics.