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Camilla Lawaetz Wimmelmann
Øster Farimagsgade 5 opg. B, Postb, 1014 København K
Research: Obesity prevention policy
Throughout the latest decade we have seen various policies and specific initiatives which have tried to slow the progression of obesity in the Danish population. During the progress of these political initiatives embedded a certain expectation towards their effect on the policy itself. Thus policies are often studied based on the expectations which are embedded in the policy. But political initiatives unfold in a dynamic world which is constituted by fragile constellations between actor with different agendas, values, rationales and resources which all are important to the policy’s practical fulfillment.
With the starting point in The Danish Health and Medicines Authority’s latest proposal “Preventions package against obesity” (2013) I am looking at how a specific obesity prevention policy is translated and practiced in the municipalities. “Preventions package against obesity” has the purpose to support the municipalities’ work to prevent the development of obesity among citizens and secure a high quality in the prevention effort by making recommendations for interventions. This prevention package is a highly topical example of obesity prevention policy which is worked with in the municipalities.
In my Ph.D.-project I follow the prevention package both over time and space by combining retrospective insights in the official design of the obesity prevention policy with analyzes of its fulfillment and reception. The project is based on qualitative material which is obtained by observations and interviews in the municipalities, The Danish Health and Medicines Authority and Local Government Denmark as well as document analyzes.
As earlier mentioned the prevention initiatives involve many actors. Every actor(group) possesses different kinds of knowledge of the obesity prevention policy and of the world which it attempts to affect, like every actor(group) has different possibilities to effect things. All together it means that every actor(group) interact with the obesity prevention policy in unique ways since they translate and unfold the dependent of their own knowledge, experiences, agendas and network.
I don’t focus on the policy’s intentional effect – Whether it reduces obesity – but more how it is included in the municipal prevention practice and how it is used in unexpected ways and initiates some unexpected (both favorable and unfavorable) practices and effects. This knowledge of the policies unfolding is invaluable and should be involved when future prevention policies are being developed.