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Applying Systems Thinking to Obesity Prevention

East Baltimore
Summer Inst. term
Health Behavior and Society
2 credits
Academic Year:
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method:
Mon 06/13/2022 - Fri 06/17/2022
Class Times:
  • M Tu W Th F,  8:30am - 12:20pm
Auditors Allowed:
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Anne Palmer

Despite decades of significant investments in obesity prevention efforts, little progress has been made to reverse the problem.

Introduces systems thinking as a heuristic tool for understanding complex problems. Explores various systems concepts such as leverage points, heterogeneity, complexity, adaptability, interdependence, and how those concepts have been applied in obesity and food system research. Addresses how systems research concepts and models can be used to communicate with public and private sector actors. Examines the differences between projects using systems thinking and those that do not. Prepares students to incorporate systems thinking in their public health career.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the origins of systems science, systems thinking, and systems approaches
  2. Identify characteristics of a system and major models (e.g. agent-based modeling, systems dynamics, social network) used to map variables related to obesity
  3. Explain the systems concepts, approaches and methods that are being used for obesity prevention and other public health issues
  4. Apply basic systems approaches to obesity development and prevention
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 10% Participation
  • 30% Reflection
  • 30% Quizzes
  • 30% Final Paper

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Jointly Offered With: