IBM To Analyze Best Way To Cut Childhood Obesity

The Wall Street Journal: IBM "will put computer models to work analyzing the reams of available data on the different factors that might affect obesity – things such as consumer behavior, the location of grocery stores, the availability of physical activity facilities and even community transportation options – and see how those factors interact. ... By running computer simulations, the scientists hope to bring policymakers some guidance on which levers to pull to most effectively influence obesity. ... The project will roll out over the next year or so; IBM says potential collaborators include MIT's Sloan School of Management and the NIH's Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences" (Hobson, 5/6).

Contra Costa Times: "The goal, [IBM mathematician Pat] Selinger said, is to help answer the question: 'If you have extra money to spend, would it be better to spend it on building another park, or having more physical education in schools, or improving school lunch programs?' The research could also shed light on the effectiveness of food labeling or economic incentives for retailers to open grocery stores that are located near public transit stops, IBM said in a statement. ... While there is no immediate business plan for the research, Maglio said, it fits with IBM's broader evolution from a predominantly hardware company into a company that draws most of its revenue from selling software and providing a range of technology services to other corporations and public agencies" (Bailey, 5/7).

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