Giving Compass' Take:

• Research from The Bridgespan Group has identified interventions designed to effectively prevent obesity and excessive weight gain. 

• How can funders use this information to direct community health efforts? 

• Find out why obesity rates continue to climb

In combating America's obesity crisis, most efforts have centered on interventions directed at children or programs aimed at older prediabetics.

Yet these 87 million 20–39-year olds face a significant risk of unhealthy weight gain: the prevalence of obesity doubles between the 6 to 11-year-old and 20 to 39-year-old age groups.

The health care and social service systems have often been too disconnected to support an integrated effort focused on new (or soon-to-be) parents and their children.

A second problem is financial. Most savings produced by prevention efforts focused on new parents and young adults would only occur much later.

Despite these challenges, we encountered several bright spots. First, there is a trend toward increased integration of clinical and community services, a critical need for effective and comprehensive program delivery to families, students, and young adults.

Second, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and experimentation in the federal government and among states is beginning to realign incentives to promote long-term public health, making a focus on young adults somewhat more practical.

Finally, emerging two-generation approaches that target parents and child together are better engaging families.

Read the full article on preventing obesity and excessive weight gain by Margaret Boasberg, Michael Soskis, Pamela Hung, and Dr. William Dietz at The Bridgespan Group.