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Keywords:

  • Finland;
  • multi-criteria mapping;
  • obesity policy;
  • stakeholder involvement

Summary

The aim of the Finnish Policy Options for Responding to the Growing Challenge of Obesity Research Project study was to use a multi-criteria mapping method to assess stakeholder opinions on policies that might have relevance when planning policies targeting obesity prevention. When evaluating policies, criteria relating to ‘Positive societal benefits’ and ‘Additional health benefits’ were often considered important, along with the more obvious ‘Efficacy in addressing obesity’. Other criteria (like economic factors) were of less importance. All policy options targeting at ‘Educational and Research Initiatives’ were highly ranked in the analysis by all stakeholders. Policies aimed at improving ‘Food-Related Informational Initiatives’ were also ranked well on average, although more variation between stakeholders existed. Policies targeting increased physical activity and easier access/provision to healthy foods received also relatively good rankings but with wide variation and doubts in the appraisals. Policies encouraging new technological innovations and institutional reforms were mostly ranked poorly and were not seen as solutions to obesity problem. Irrespective of the stakeholder group, it seems that while traditional educational policies were most highly ranked, several other policies are also viable options in the policy portfolio of obesity prevention.