Use of research evidence in state policymaking for childhood obesity prevention in minnesota

Sarah E. Gollust, Hanna A. Kite, Sara J. Benning, Rachel A. Callanan, Susan R. Weisman, Marilyn S. Nanney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: We describe how scientific evidence about obesity has been used in Minnesota legislative materials to understand how research evidence might more effectively be translated into policymaking.

Methods: We selected 13 obesity-related bills introduced from 2007 to 2011 in Minnesota. Using state archives, we collected all legislative committee meeting materials and floor testimony related to each bill. We used a coding instrument to systematically analyze the content of a sample of 109 materials for their use of research evidence and non-research-based information.

Results: Research evidence was mentioned in 41% of all legislative materials. Evidence was often used to describe the prevalence or consequences of obesity or policy impacts but not to describe health disparities. In 45% of materials that cited evidence, no source of evidence was indicated. By contrast, 92% of materials presented non-research-based information, such as expert beliefs, constituent opinion, political principles, and anecdotes.

Conclusions: Despite an abundance of available research evidence on obesity, less than half of legislative materials cited any such evidence in discussions around obesity-related bills under consideration in Minnesota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1894-1900
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


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