Childhood obesity is a serious public health problem with significant racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities caused by a complex interplay of social, economic, cultural, political and neighborhood-specific factors. Closing this disparities gap and developing interventions that are effective and focused on the community's specific needs and priorities requires an in-depth understanding of the complex interplay of these factors. Thus, there is a compelling need to conduct Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to develop effective, collaborative prevention and intervention research strategies to reduce childhood obesity- related health disparities. CBPR has been shown to be an effective process for obesity prevention efforts;but more research is needed. Through this proposal, a stellar team including investigators from Brown University, the Greater Providence YMCA, experts in CBPR and facilitation, a Community Advisory Board of diverse, influential and representative community stakeholders and residents will work together in a collaborative, co- learning process to develop a research agenda for reducing childhood obesity-related health disparities in Providence RI.
The Specific Aims of the proposed research are to: 1) Identify the community's specific needs and interests re. how to address childhood obesity and underlying behavioral and environmental determinants in Providence through ongoing outreach and community engagement activities to encourage the active involvement of parents, children, key stakeholders, and organizations in a collaborative (academic-community) planning and assessment process. 2) Develop and implement a series of community-based meetings/presentations/forums to share the assessment findings and engage community members, stakeholders and organizations in a 'Concept Mapping'analysis and interpretation of the data to guide the development of a CBPR intervention agenda. 3): Develop a formal partnership agreement with community-based organizations and a collaborative CBPR intervention plan and research agenda for reducing childhood obesity disparities. This project is significant because: a) it is focused on reducing childhood obesity, a serious public health problem;b) the target audience is low income, racial/ethnic minority families who are at higher risk of obesity and related health disparities;c). the focal community is Providence, a core city, with significant childhood obesity-related disparities;d) it is utilizing a CBPR approach with bot an academic and community PI to identify community-specific behavioral, environmental and social determinants of childhood obesity and to create a collaborative research agenda to address these challenges;e) it builds social capital in the community by training community members in formative research and intervention design methodology while facilitating reciprocal training for researchers by community members;and f) it creates a long-term, sustainable, academic-community partnership for reducing obesity-related health disparities and creating health equity.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity is a serious and growing public health problem. Low income and racial/ethnic minority adults and children have higher rates of obesity. There is a compelling need to conduct community-based participatory research (CBPR) to develop effective prevention and intervention research strategies to reduce obesity disparities. Providence, RI, a city where the child poverty level is greater than 15%, is disproportionately affected by obesity. Through this proposal, we plan to utilize a CBPR process to establish a formal, sustainable, academic-community partnership infrastructure for addressing obesity disparities in Providence;increase the capacity of community members to assist in the design, implementation and evaluation of public health interventions;and develop and implement a long-term, CBPR plan to address obesity-related health disparities in Providence.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Conference (R13)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DRG-H (50))
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White, Della
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Brown University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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