Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 539764, 10 pages
Review Article

Obesity Prevention and National Food Security: A Food Systems Approach

1Division of Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
2Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1300 S 2nd Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA
3Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, 505 Durham Research Plaza, Omaha, NE 68105, USA
4Health Behaviors Research Branch, National Cancer Institute, 6130 Executive Boulevard, MSC 7335, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Received 19 October 2012; Accepted 6 November 2012

Academic Editors: C. Banwell, E. Lokkegaard, and A. Rosano

Copyright © 2012 Lila Finney Rutten et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Interventions that cultivate sustainable food systems to promote health, prevent obesity, and improve food security have the potential for many large-scale and long-lasting benefits including improvements in social, environmental, health, and economic outcomes. We briefly summarize findings from previous research examining associations between obesity and food insecurity and discuss the need for greater synergy between food insecurity initiatives and national obesity prevention public health goals in the United States. The common ground between these two nutrition-related public health issues is explored, and the transformation needed in research and advocacy communities around the shared goal of improving population health through individual, environmental, and policy level changes to promote healthy sustainable food systems is discussed. We propose an ecological framework to simultaneously consider food insecurity and obesity that identifies levers for change to promote sustainable food systems to improve food security and prevent obesity.