Background: Addressing childhood obesity in Latin America requires a package
of multisectoral, evidence‐based policies that enable environments conducive to
Objective: Identify and examine key elements to translating research into
effective obesity policies in Latin America.
Methods: We examined obesity prevention policies through case studies
developed with an expert in the specific policy. Policies were selected based on their
level of implementation, visibility and potential impact to reduce childhood obesity.
They include: (i) excise taxes on sugar sweetened beverages and energy‐dense
foods; (ii) front‐of‐package food label legislation; (iii) trans fatty acids removal
from processed foods; and (iv) Ciclovías recreativas or ‘open streets’. Case studies
were coded to identify components that explained successful implementation and
sustainability using the Complex Adaptive Health Systems framework.
Results: The analysis identified key elements for effective and sustainable policy,
including evidence justifying policy; evidence‐based advocacy by civil society;
political will; and legislation and skillful negotiations across government,
academia, the private sector and civil society. Scientific evidence and evaluation
played an important role in achieving tipping points for policies’ launch and sustain
Conclusions: Well‐coordinated, intersectoral partnerships are needed to
successfully implement evidence‐based anti‐obesity policies. Prospective policy
research may be useful for advancing knowledge translation.