Abstract for: Assessing Policies to Reduce Adolescent Overweight and Obesity: insights from a system dynamics model using HBSC survey data

Existing responses to adolescent overweight and obesity (AdOWOB) in Europe have failed to achieve reductions in population prevalence. This difficulty has led to increasing recognition of the need to apply methods appropriate to the complexity of the problem, including systems methods to evaluate potential intervention and policy options. This paper describes the development of a system dynamics model of AdOWOB as part of the EU-funded CO-CREATE project. The model was developed using literature and data from the World Health Organization’s Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) survey across 31 European countries. Through statistical analysis, we identified ten HBSC variables that were included as direct or indirect drivers of AdOWOB in the dynamic model. Of these drivers, seven are endogenous influences involved in feedback loops at the level of the individual and three relate to exogenous environmental influences. The model was calibrated to 24 separate cases based on 4 gender and perceived wealth segments for each of the 5 CO-CREATE countries (The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and the UK) and for Europe overall. The ten possible intervention points were tested (including sensitivity testing to reflect uncertainty), and the most influential ones were identified for each case.