Promoting Public Health in the Context of the “Obesity Epidemic”: False Starts and Promising New Directions

Traci Mann, A. Janet Tomiyama, Andrew Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In the battle to combat obesity rates in the United States, several misconceptions have dominated policy initiatives. We address those misconceptions, including the notion that restrictive diets lead to long-term weight loss, that stigmatizing obesity is an effective strategy for promoting weight reduction, and that weight and physical health should be considered synonymous with one another. In offering correctives to each of these points, we draw on psychological science to suggest new policies that could be enacted at both the local and national levels. Instead of policies that rely solely on individual willpower, which is susceptible to failure, we recommend those that make use of environmental changes to reduce the amount of willpower necessary to achieve healthy behavior. Ultimately, the most effective policies will promote health rather than any arbitrary level of weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)706-710
Number of pages5
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, The Author(s) 2015.


  • dieting
  • obesity
  • policy
  • weight stigma


Dive into the research topics of 'Promoting Public Health in the Context of the “Obesity Epidemic”: False Starts and Promising New Directions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this