Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 571803, 10 pages
Review Article

Individual, Social, Economic, and Environmental Model: A Paradigm Shift for Obesity Prevention

1Analytical Services Branch, Australian Bureau of Statistics Locked Bag 10, Belconnen, Canberra, ACT 2616, Australia
2Division of Resource Management, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 6108, Morgantown, WV 26505-6108, USA

Received 15 October 2012; Accepted 31 October 2012

Academic Editors: B. van Wijngaarden and B. Vicente

Copyright © 2012 Anura Amarasinghe and Gerard D'Souza. 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.


Obesity has joined the list of “wicked problems” with associated implications for public health, food security, and the entire food supply chain. This paper examines the possible causes, consequences, and policy implications, especially important in an environment of shrinking budgets. The causes of obesity are multifaceted and involve complex interactions; hence any successful prevention and mitigation strategy should identify the key factors and interactions thereof. We propose a dynamic and integrated individual, social, economic and environmental model (ISEEM) to accomplish this. Within this framework, the optimal mix of economic incentives, better education, and land use planning emerge as key factors in obesity prevention and mitigation and the promotion of healthier, more sustainable communities. The use of the ISEEM framework, involving a combination of strategies targeted to specific circumstances of individual communities and localities, could address this wicked problem in an environment characterized by increasing conflicts among budgets, heuristics, and politics.