Assessing policies to reduce adolescent overweight and obesity: Insights from a system dynamics model using data from the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children study

Eduard Romanenko, Jack Homer, Anne-Siri Fismen, Harry Rutter, Nanna Lien

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Summary Adolescent overweight and obesity (AdOWOB) in Europe has proven to be a persistent and complex problem, and appropriate systems methods may help in evaluating potential policy options. This paper describes the development of a system dynamics model of AdOWOB as part of the EU-funded CO-CREATE project. The model was developed using literature and data from the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study across 31 European countries. We identified 10 HBSC variables that were included as direct or indirect drivers of AdOWOB in the dynamic model, seven at the level of the individual, and three related to the social environment. The model was calibrated to 24 separate cases based on four gender and perceived wealth segments for each of the five CO-CREATE countries (The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and the UK) and for Europe overall. Out of 10 possible intervention points tested, exercise, fruit, life dissatisfaction, school pressure, and skipping breakfast were identified as the top five most influential ones across the 24 cases. These model-based priorities can be compared with the policy ideas suggested by the CO-CREATE adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13519
JournalObesity Reviews
Early online date22 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Nov 2022


  • HBSC
  • obesity prevention
  • quantitative modeling
  • system dynamics
  • youth

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