The prevalence of childhood obesity (CO) and related complications is high and alarmingly increasing in Iran. This study applied a mixed Delphi & Policy Dialogue approach to exploring and prioritizing policy options to control childhood obesity in Iran.
This study is organized in three Delphi phases followed by a policy dialogue session. This study applied the advocacy collation framework and evidence-informed policy-making approach to enhance the chance of a feasible and acceptable policy package. The first step consisted of interviews with 30 experts and primary stakeholders. Based on their answers and a comprehensive literature review, a list of presumed effective policy options to combat CO in Iran was made. Then, panelists were asked to score each policy option using a five-point Likert scale in seven constructs. To maximize the spread of opinions, panelists were chosen to represent three perspectives: policy-makers at different levels, presidents of various organizations who would implement potential policy options, and academics. Twenty-one stakeholders were invited to discuss the policy options in a policy dialogue section.
We introduced 27 policy options and asked stakeholders to rank them using seven criteria on a five-level Likert scale. Totally, 41 experts participated in round 2 (66.2% response rate), and 33 experts took part in round 3 (72% response rate). Participants believed that healthy schools, creating healthy environments in kindergartens and other child care centers, subsidizing healthy foods, educating healthy lifestyles in mass media, and increasing access to physical activity facilities are the most effective and feasible policies in controlling CO. After the policy dialogue, the healthy school remained the most prioritized policy. a policy package to combat CO in Iran was designed with the participation of all stakeholders.
The advocacy collation framework and the evidence-informed policy-making approach were used to draft a policy package to combat CO, increasing the acceptability and feasibility of the developed policy package.