West Virginia (WV) consistently ranks at or near the bottom in most major health indices. The WV Bureau for Public Health and our other partners identify disparities related to tobacco and to obesity and metabolic disease (OMD) as top health priorities. Since 1994, the WV Prevention Research Center has collaborated with these partners to transform public health policy and practice through community-engaged research and evaluation, with emphasis on tobacco and OMD. We propose to expand our impact through the following Specific Aims: (1) grow and sustain a multi-disciplinary academic-based center for innovative, community- engaged health promotion and disease prevention research and evaluation;(2) collaborate with state and local health departments, community agencies and other community partners to address state-identified health priorities and disparities;(3) foster, conduct, and translate community-engaged applied prevention research and evaluation to improve public health outcomes, practice and policy;(4) strengthen the capacity of public health practitioners, faculty, staff, students, community members, and partner organizations to conduct and apply prevention research to address practical public health problems;and (5) partner with state and local departments of health and education to: (5a) define and document current school physical education (PE) and recess practices among elementary schools in WV and compare student health and academic outcomes based on school practices;(5b) compare the impact of two school-based PE and activity interventions to standard PE based on student- and school-level outcomes;and (5c) rapidly translate research findings into environmental and policy recommendations at the state and local levels to increase student access to effective physical activity and PE.
Aim 5 relates to our applied childhood obesity intervention project that addresses a CDC Winnable Battle. It also addresses gaps about the efficacy/effectiveness of prevention strategies for a priority population (i.e., rural) and a gap identified in the physical activity interventions'review in the Guide to Community Preventive Services. This multi-method project involves primary and secondary data analysis, including direct (accelerometer) and observed measures of student physical activity levels, aerobic fitness, academic achievement, and health risk factors such as overweight/obesity and elevated blood pressure. It employs a cross sectional design (Study Aim 1) and a randomized control trial (Aim 2);
Aim 3 addresses knowledge translation. We hypothesize that accomplishment of all five Aims requires mutually-beneficial engagement with state/local public health and education, communities, providers, and to ensure partner trust and research relevance, and facilitate the rapid translation of applied research and evaluation to public health policies and practices that address key health disparities. We expect to provide fair, sustainable, and cost- effective research, training, and service by delivering tangible products that can be used to improve population health and vitality for years to come.
WV has one of the worst health profiles in the nation with high rates of tobacco use, obesity and related chronic diseases. The WV Prevention Research Center will partner with state and local health departments and others to conduct applied public health research, evaluation, technical assistance, and training. We expect to provide cost-effective strategies, programs, and products that reduce health disparities and to promote a cultural norm where healthy behavior is accepted and practiced.