This U13 application responds to NICHD PAR-09-092 in the broad focus area of child, adolescent, and adult obesity. Interventions that impact upon obesity in African American children and youth, especially females, are critically needed given the steeper than average trajectory of increase and high obesity prevalence in African American children and youth, especially females. The domain of obesity research is defined here to include determinants of food, physical activity, and weight control at both environmental and individual levels and their relationships to obesity and related morbidity and mortality. This broad domain has intrinsic connections to a spectrum of potential community issues and priorities. Activities will be designed to identify the community's perceived areas of interest for addressing disparities related to obesity, with a particular focus on youth engagement. These activities will be undertaken under the rubric of the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN), a national organization based at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Funds requested in this application would support engagement of youth and adult community members in planning and implementing two community-focused, national workshops, in 2010 and 2012, reflecting community priorities for social change activities related to childhood obesity prevention.
Specific aims are to: 1) Implement creative new methods of enabling youth partners to share their perspectives, become more informed, and identify priorities about issues related to eating, physical activity, and body weight;2) Create an advisory board that will stimulate dialogue among youth and adult community members and academic researchers about issues and priorities in these focus areas;3)Identify and engage, through a memorandum of understanding, at least one youth focused, community organization as a community based participatory research (CBPR) partner;4) With community partners and the advisory board, plan and implement a specific component of AACORN's 2010 and 2012 workshops that will provide for conjoint community and academic researcher capacity building and establish a foundation for planning longer term cross-learning and CBPR activities.
The need to increase the direct involvement of African American community members and organizations in the generation of endogenous solutions to obesity and related health and quality of life issues is great. Interventions that impact upon obesity in African American children and youth, especially females, are critically needed given a steeper than average rise in obesity prevalence.