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A system dynamics model of the nutritional stages of the Colombian population
Authors: Jose D Meisel, Olga L. Sarmiento, Camilo Olaya, Juan A Valdivia, and Roberto Zarama
Source: Kybernetes, 45(4): 554-570; DOI: 10.1108/K-01-2015-0010
Topic(s): Body Mass Index (BMI)
Country: Latin American/Caribbean
Published: APR 2016
Abstract: Purpose – Overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity have in recent years become an important public health problem worldwide. Investigations that study obesity using a systemic approach in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are limited. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to study the nutritional stages dynamics within the Colombian urban population. Design/methodology/approach – The authors used a population-level systems dynamics (SD) model that captures the transitions of population by body mass index (BMI) categories. The authors proposed a heuristic to estimate the transference rates (TRs) between BMI categories using data from the Colombian Demographic and Health Survey 2005 and 2010. Findings – The Colombian urban population is moving to overweight and obese categories. The TRs from not overweight to overweight and from overweight to obese (0.0076 and 0.0054, respectively) are higher than the TRs from obese to overweight and from overweight to not-overweight (1.025×10e-7 and 3.47×10e-7, respectively). The simulation results show that the prevalences of overweight and obesity will increase by 6.2 and 7.5 percent by 2015, and by 13.4 and 18.9 percent by 2030, respectively. Originality/value – Investigations that study obesity using a systemic approach in LMICs are limited. A SD model was proposed to examine changes in the population’s nutritional stages using population accumulation structures by BMI categories. The authors propose a heuristic to estimate the TRs of individuals between BMI categories. The proposed model can be used to study the effects of policy interventions to prevent overweight and obesity. The authors analyze a few policy intervention strategies. Keywords: Public health, Mathematical modelling, Obesity, System dynamics, Behaviour science, Nutritional stages