The Dan River Region (DRR) is a federally designated medically under-served area/population with high rates of obesity. In response to 3 comprehensive community needs assessments The Dan River Partnership for a Healthy Community (DRPHC) was established in 2010 "to foster community partnership to combat obesity in the Dan River Region through healthy lifestyle initiatives" (DRPHC mission statement). To date the DRPHC 1) tested a successful adult weight control intervention, 2) initiated youth-focus community garden and instant recess initiatives, and 3) continues to complete a comprehensive audit of the food and physical activity environment across the DRR. This RFA provided an opportunity to address an additional and complimentary area of need for the DRPHC childhood obesity. A newly formed subcommittee and community advisory board (CAB) of the DRPHC, Partnering for Obesity Planning and Sustainability (POPS), met in preparation of this proposal and discussed the need to engage systems where high need families received services and could participate in childhood obesity treatment. The POPS-CAB came to consensus that using a systems-based approach, within the existing CBPR partnership, would allow for the development of a contextually relevant intervention with the potential for long-term sustainability. Systems-based approaches include, but also move beyond, a focus on initiative effectiveness and address broader contextual issues such as initiative adoption, implementation, and maintenance across settings and delivery staff as well as reach and maintenance of effects at the individual level. The general goal of this application is to engage multiple systems through the DRPHC POPS-CAB and design and test prototype childhood obesity interventions. The current membership of the POPS-CAB includes Danville Pittsylvania Health District, Children's Healthcare Center, Danville Parks Recreation &Tourism, and Boys &Girls Club, along with an interdisciplinary team of academic investigators.
Our first aim i s to assess community capacity to develop, implement, and sustain a childhood obesity reduction initiative in the DRR. To accomplish this aim a concurrent mixed-method study design will be used and guide dimensions of community capacity and organizational level dimensions of the RE-AIM framework (i.e., adoption, implementation, and maintenance).
The second aim i s to determine the potential reach, effectiveness, feasibility, and cost of the newly developed interventions. Three stages of iterative intervention testing/formative feedback loops in a public health and healthcare system will be used to achieve this aim. The partnership members will meet on an ongoing basis to discuss the qualitative and quantitative results and make adaptations to improve the strategies. Indicators of success include reduced child BMI z-scores, the engagement of multiple systems, and regional capacity to evaluate research evidence and integrate this evidence into sustainable practices. The end goal is a childhood obesity intervention that is ready for large scale testing across these systems in the DRR.
Integrating a systems-based approach with a community-based participatory research coalition established to address obesity holds great promise for developing contextually relevant childhood obesity strategies. Partnering with delivery systems to identify and adapt evidenced-based childhood obesity interventions has high potential to increase the reach of underserved youth in health disparate communities, stimulate higher adaptation among local systems, and promote longer term sustainability.
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