Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Rodney Lyn

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Eriksen


Childhood obesity is a serious public health problem across the United States, and health policy changes at the state and local level seem to hold much promise in addressing this epidemic. This paper will assess the role of social policy in advancing childhood obesity prevention, including its utility in operationalizing theoretical frameworks such as the socio-ecological model. Evidence-based recommendations will be presented as well as factors affecting the likelihood of state legislatures implementing such strategies. The capstone will compare and contrast the themes identified in the literature with policy actions taken by three states and two large cities that have seen progress in reducing their rates of childhood obesity, including California, Mississippi, Arkansas, New York City, and Philadelphia.

A policy brief with recommendations for Georgia’s health policy and legislative leaders will be developed as a product of this capstone. The brief will be based on the environmental scan of Georgia’s current policies surrounding childhood obesity and the lessons learned from the five successful states and localities. The intention of the policy brief is to provide a blueprint for Georgia’s leaders to build support, organize resources, and achieve effective policy implementation to address childhood obesity.