Limits...
Perspectives of Fijian Policymakers on the Obesity Prevention Policy Landscape.

Hendriks AM, Delai MY, Thow AM, Gubbels JS, De Vries NK, Kremers SP, Jansen MW - Biomed Res Int (2015)

Bottom Line: By applying the "attractor landscape" metaphor from dynamic systems theory, we captured perceived barriers and facilitators in the policy landscape.Facilitators include policy entrepreneurs and policy brokers who were active when a window of opportunity opened and who strengthened intersectoral collaboration.In Fiji and other Pacific Island countries, this may be achievable through increased food self-sufficiency, strengthened intersectoral collaboration, and the establishment of an explicit functional focal unit within government to monitor and forecast the health impact of policy changes in non-health sectors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Academic Collaborative Centre for Public Health Limburg, Regional Public Health Service, P.O. Box 2022, 6160 HA Geleen, Netherlands ; Department of Health Promotion, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
In Fiji and other Pacific Island countries, obesity has rapidly increased in the past decade. Therefore, several obesity prevention policies have been developed. Studies show that their development has been hampered by factors within Fiji's policy landscape such as pressure from industry. Since policymakers in the Fijian national government are primarily responsible for the development of obesity policies, it is important to understand their perspectives; we therefore interviewed 15 policymakers from nine Fijian ministries. By applying the "attractor landscape" metaphor from dynamic systems theory, we captured perceived barriers and facilitators in the policy landscape. A poor economic situation, low food self-sufficiency, power inequalities, inappropriate framing of obesity, limited policy evidence, and limited resource sharing hamper obesity policy developments in Fiji. Facilitators include policy entrepreneurs and policy brokers who were active when a window of opportunity opened and who strengthened intersectoral collaboration. Fiji's policy landscape can become more conducive to obesity policies if power inequalities are reduced. In Fiji and other Pacific Island countries, this may be achievable through increased food self-sufficiency, strengthened intersectoral collaboration, and the establishment of an explicit functional focal unit within government to monitor and forecast the health impact of policy changes in non-health sectors.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The policy landscape (mountains) and forces (arrows) affecting Fijian policymakers (the ball).
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fig1: The policy landscape (mountains) and forces (arrows) affecting Fijian policymakers (the ball).

Mentions: Many countries and especially other small island nations experience similar barriers that are often found in the “policy landscape” (e.g., [12, 13]). The policy landscape includes interacting factors relevant to the policies under consideration, which determine the policymakers' opportunities for developing policy. These similarities have led to the growing importance of understanding the policy landscape worldwide. One way to achieve such an understanding is through the application of dynamics systems theory with its commonly used metaphor of the “attractor landscape” [16]. An “attractor landscape” can be seen as the context in which policymakers work (see Figure 1). The ball in Figure 1 can be seen as the Fijian policymakers, where the top of the hill may reflect a policy that has been successfully developed to prevent obesity. For example, in the last years, the Fijian government has implemented several fiscal policy measures targeting the prices of fruits and vegetables, sugar-sweetened beverages, and palm oil [17]. Further implementation and sustenance of the policy will be relatively easy as the ball rolls down the hill. As the ball reaches the “basin,” the behavior of the policymakers is likely to remain stable, as dynamic systems theory assumes that elements in a system prefer a stable state that may mimic habitual routine behavior [16]. To develop new obesity prevention policies, the ball (policymaker) would need to get out of the basin (the status quo) and exert effort (arrows pointing upward) to climb the mountain to arrive at a new obesity prevention policy. However, there will also be forces that make the slope of the hill steeper. An example changes to agricultural and fishery policies that encourage trade, which result in dependence on low-quality food imports, which in turn lead to decreased access to local healthy food. These forces have to compete with economic interests, thus affecting the effort Fijian policymakers must exert to create new policies.


Perspectives of Fijian Policymakers on the Obesity Prevention Policy Landscape.

Hendriks AM, Delai MY, Thow AM, Gubbels JS, De Vries NK, Kremers SP, Jansen MW - Biomed Res Int (2015)

The policy landscape (mountains) and forces (arrows) affecting Fijian policymakers (the ball).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4561938&req=5

fig1: The policy landscape (mountains) and forces (arrows) affecting Fijian policymakers (the ball).
Mentions: Many countries and especially other small island nations experience similar barriers that are often found in the “policy landscape” (e.g., [12, 13]). The policy landscape includes interacting factors relevant to the policies under consideration, which determine the policymakers' opportunities for developing policy. These similarities have led to the growing importance of understanding the policy landscape worldwide. One way to achieve such an understanding is through the application of dynamics systems theory with its commonly used metaphor of the “attractor landscape” [16]. An “attractor landscape” can be seen as the context in which policymakers work (see Figure 1). The ball in Figure 1 can be seen as the Fijian policymakers, where the top of the hill may reflect a policy that has been successfully developed to prevent obesity. For example, in the last years, the Fijian government has implemented several fiscal policy measures targeting the prices of fruits and vegetables, sugar-sweetened beverages, and palm oil [17]. Further implementation and sustenance of the policy will be relatively easy as the ball rolls down the hill. As the ball reaches the “basin,” the behavior of the policymakers is likely to remain stable, as dynamic systems theory assumes that elements in a system prefer a stable state that may mimic habitual routine behavior [16]. To develop new obesity prevention policies, the ball (policymaker) would need to get out of the basin (the status quo) and exert effort (arrows pointing upward) to climb the mountain to arrive at a new obesity prevention policy. However, there will also be forces that make the slope of the hill steeper. An example changes to agricultural and fishery policies that encourage trade, which result in dependence on low-quality food imports, which in turn lead to decreased access to local healthy food. These forces have to compete with economic interests, thus affecting the effort Fijian policymakers must exert to create new policies.

Bottom Line: By applying the "attractor landscape" metaphor from dynamic systems theory, we captured perceived barriers and facilitators in the policy landscape.Facilitators include policy entrepreneurs and policy brokers who were active when a window of opportunity opened and who strengthened intersectoral collaboration.In Fiji and other Pacific Island countries, this may be achievable through increased food self-sufficiency, strengthened intersectoral collaboration, and the establishment of an explicit functional focal unit within government to monitor and forecast the health impact of policy changes in non-health sectors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Academic Collaborative Centre for Public Health Limburg, Regional Public Health Service, P.O. Box 2022, 6160 HA Geleen, Netherlands ; Department of Health Promotion, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
In Fiji and other Pacific Island countries, obesity has rapidly increased in the past decade. Therefore, several obesity prevention policies have been developed. Studies show that their development has been hampered by factors within Fiji's policy landscape such as pressure from industry. Since policymakers in the Fijian national government are primarily responsible for the development of obesity policies, it is important to understand their perspectives; we therefore interviewed 15 policymakers from nine Fijian ministries. By applying the "attractor landscape" metaphor from dynamic systems theory, we captured perceived barriers and facilitators in the policy landscape. A poor economic situation, low food self-sufficiency, power inequalities, inappropriate framing of obesity, limited policy evidence, and limited resource sharing hamper obesity policy developments in Fiji. Facilitators include policy entrepreneurs and policy brokers who were active when a window of opportunity opened and who strengthened intersectoral collaboration. Fiji's policy landscape can become more conducive to obesity policies if power inequalities are reduced. In Fiji and other Pacific Island countries, this may be achievable through increased food self-sufficiency, strengthened intersectoral collaboration, and the establishment of an explicit functional focal unit within government to monitor and forecast the health impact of policy changes in non-health sectors.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus