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Choose Less, Weigh Less – L.A. County Ramps Up Obesity Prevention Efforts

Los Angles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) launched a new public health campaign – Choose Less, Weigh Less – to help residents control portion size and raise awareness about recommended calorie limits. The campaign is part of a larger initiative by Choose Health LA, a CDC-funded program from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund to prevent chronic disease and reduce health disparities through interventions that create healthy and safe environments and improve access to evidence-based clinical preventive services.[1]

In the past 13 years, obesity rates have steadily increased to nearly 1 in 4 Angelenos.  Obesity rates escalated more rapidly for young adults ages 18-39 and Latinos and Asian/Pacific Islanders (APIs), and are highest among people with less formal education and lower household incomes.[2]  These disparities call for urgent intensification of prevention and control efforts targeting younger adults and disproportionately affected racial/ethnic groups.[3]

The campaign will educate L.A. County residents about how they can take small steps to make significant changes in their health including advertisements on buses, billboards, television, radio, and social media showing photographs of different sizes of meals and the number of calories saved by eating less. At a recent press conference launching the new campaign, LADPH Director Jonathan Fielding stated, “It is no secret that portion size, as well as our waistlines have expanded over the last two decades. Unfortunately we have become accustomed to these oversized portions.”

Changing social and environmental conditions over the past 50 years including a shift to larger portion sizes in fast food restaurants and meals cooked at home have fueled the obesity epidemic and will require large-scale public recognition and support to be undone. LADPH plans to work with restaurants to offer smaller portions and to research other options such as taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages or bans on certain larger-sized drinks to further the goals of the initiative.[4]


[1] Gupta N, LA Health Collaborative 2011 Executive Summary, LA Health Action, April 2012, accessed at:

http://lahealthaction.org/library/LAHC_Executive_Summary_2011_final.pdf

[2] Although the obesity rate in this group experienced a high increase, it was still lower at 8.9% than obesity rates of other racial/ethnic groups: Latinos (31.6%), African American (31.0%) and Whites (18%), L.A. County Department of Public Health, Trends in Obesity: Adult Obesity Continues to Rise, Los Angeles County Health Survey, September 2012:

http://file.lacounty.gov/bc/q4_2012/cms1_184755.pdf – search=”trends AND obesity”

[3] L.A. County Department of Public Health, Trends in Obesity: Adult Obesity Continues to Rise, Los Angeles County Health Survey, September 2012:

http://file.lacounty.gov/bc/q4_2012/cms1_184755.pdf – search=”trends AND obesity”

[4] Gorman A, L.A. County Health Officials Urge People to Eat Less, Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2012.

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