Policy options for responding to the growing challenge from obesity: Cyprus national findings


SC Savva, 138, Limassol Avenue, No. 205, 2015 Strovolos, Cyprus. E-mail: samar1@cytanet.com.cy


A multifaceted public health policy approach is required for reversing the current obesity epidemic. The Policy Options for Responding to the Growing Challenge of Obesity Research Project aimed to explore the consistency and/or variability of the perspectives of key stakeholders towards a range of different options to respond to the growing challenge of obesity among nine participating European member states. The multi-criteria mapping technique was used. Cyprus national data, when analysed in the public health and public policy context of Cyprus, collectively indicate that no single policy option appears to be unique in combating obesity, but rather need to be combined with other policy options. Specifically, measures are needed to improve levels of knowledge and understanding regarding food, diet, health and fitness beginning from early childhood with health professionals having an important role in this regard. These measures should be coupled with informational initiatives emphasizing the improvement of nutritional information labelling system, and the control of food and drink advertising. There was also a consensus regarding the need for modifying the supply of and demand for foodstuffs, but not via economic instruments. Practical feasibility, social acceptability, efficacy and social benefits but not the economic costs of the options were deemed the most important criteria for a successful implementation.