In the United States, obesity is considered a national epidemic and a public health crisis. In North Philadelphia, nearly 70% of children are overweight or obese. Health literacy is an essential ingredient for community-based obesity prevention: people need to be able to access, process, and integrate the information that is available to them regarding their dietary behaviors, such as following dietary guidelines, maximizing their purchasing power, and successfully maneuvering the complex food landscape. Our goal for the conference series is to build a formal Community Partnership with appropriate community organizations to address obesity prevention in North Philadelphia using a health literacy approach. One objective is to create opportunities for a formal partnership to evolve out of smaller partnered efforts in pilot research projects and community learning courses. Another objective is to sustain the Partnership through regular forums and educational events that encourage communication between academia and community. The overall approach of the project is to bridge community-based learning courses with Community Based Participatory Research through a common effort addressing obesity prevention and health literacy. Meetings, conferences and workshops will be used to gather stakeholders from the extensive community networks that exist across Temple University to review the North Philadelphia landscape regarding obesity and family relevant factors, explore best practices, and plan a research agenda that includes needs assessments, pilot research, and intervention studies. Outcomes will include specific research projects with a formal Community Partner, new community learning courses, and improved capacity of community organizations to effectively partner with Temple in teaching/learning and research opportunities.
Specific Aim 1 will address processes of Partnership formation.
Specific Aim 2 addresses the development of the health disparity research agenda.
Specific Aim 3 focuses on sustainability of community engagement. The proposed approach to developing and implementing the model is innovative in the bringing together of Temple's community based participatory research efforts with its successful community-partnered learning initiatives thereby extending community participation and influence on both pedagogical and research goals.
This project will link the educational and research resources of a large urban university with community partners to address obesity prevention through a family-focused health literacy approach. Conferences will link community-based learning with community-based research to provide a platform for building and sustaining a mutually beneficial partnership with the surrounding community that can help reduce health disparities.