Session 12: Participatory Modeling Approaches to Improving Nutrition and Health

9:30 AM - 10:50 AM | Room 104

Using Collaborative Systems Modeling to Inform State Policymaking on Childhood Obesity in Georgia

Rachel Ferencik
Georgia State University

Chris Soderquist
Pontifex Consulting

Childhood obesity in has tripled in recent decades, and Georgia is no exception. Reversing this epidemic requires a diverse set of policies and interventions, making it an ideal candidate for a system dynamics modeling project. As part of a comprehensive continuing education program for state policymakers, a group of legislators and their staff, along with subject matter experts, came together to develop a computer simulation on childhood obesity. The simulation was embedded in a real-time, hands-on learning lab environment with legislators and enabled them to engage in a more rigorous discussion about effective policy options for reducing childhood obesity.

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Using System Dynamics Modeling to Foster Effective School-Based Wellness Program Planning and Implementation

David Lounsbury, Judith Wylie-Rosett, Mindy Ginsberg, Arthur E. Blank, Moonseong Heo, Natania W. Ostrovsky, and Carmen R. Isasi
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Ralph Levine
Michigan State University

Lynn Fredericks
FamilyCook Productions

Emily Zagnit, Erica Irvin, and Shawn G. Hayes

In an ongoing study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, we use system dynamics (SD) modeling to foster wellness program planning and implementation within diverse, urban high schools. In our study, we work collaboratively with school wellness councils (SWCs) to apply systems thinking and SD modeling to foster behavioral change consistent with the 2010 US dietary guidelines for adolescents. Specifically, we are using tailored reports on self-reported student health behaviors, causal loop diagramming exercises, and simple demonstration simulation models to help the SWCs develop and execute action plans.

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