Unintended Consequences of Obesity Prevention Messages

Sahara Byrne and Jeff Niederdeppe

in The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736362
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Unintended Consequences of Obesity Prevention Messages

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This chapter first reviews a variety of intended and unintended consequences that could occur in response to an obesity-prevention message, and then reports the examples of research on specific unintended consequences of messages designed to promote active living and healthy eating among children, caregivers, and adults. It also considers the research about unintended consequences of messages related to support for public policies to prevent obesity. A series of recommendations about how to avoid unintended consequences in messages designed to prevent childhood and adult obesity is presented. Messages with the potential to reduce or prevent obesity can result in one or more of three possible outcomes: intended effects, null effects, or unintended effects. Unintended consequences may result from strategic efforts to prevent obesity. It is argued that neglecting to consider unintended consequences in the planning stages of an intervention is a mistake.

Keywords: unintended consequences; obesity prevention; public policies; childhood obesity; adult obesity

Article.  8379 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare

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