Monitoring and Evaluating Childhood Obesity Interventions
This project includes a series of monitoring and evaluation activities that critically examine actual and hypothetical policy and environmental interventions designed to halt, and eventually reverse the obesity epidemic among children and youth in the United States.
The project includes five specific aims that will lead to a series of effective monitoring and evaluation activities, tools and results. Central to these activities will be the systemic application of mathematical and statistical models we have developed to use in understanding and forecasting the future of the obesity epidemic, including our “energy gap” model, trend prediction models, and a microsimulation model of energy balance in growth. In addition, we have conducted a number of analyses of the forces driving recent changes in obesity and relative weight based on national data, including evidence for changes in both dietary intake and physical activity, and the impact of a variety of policy and environmental interventions as modifiable causes of the epidemic.
- Monitor changes in obesity prevalence and Body Mass Index (BMI) from nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data (1970 through the latest release in 2009) for ages 2-19, providing up-to-date progress reports of outstanding energy imbalance by age group, race/ethnicity and income status. Based on these data, we will revise projections for the obesity epidemic to 2015 and beyond and catalog new evidence of flattening and reversal of past trends.
- Model the caloric impacts of a full roster of evidence-based school and community interventions relevant to obesity prevention among youths aged 2-19. We will partner with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)-funded systemic review conducted by Brennan and Brownson to identify the most promising interventions for evaluation.
- Document for the first time evidence for recent changes in both components of energy balance – energy intake and energy expenditure – using new NHANES data.
- Develop a Caloric Impact Calculator that is a user-friendly tool for quantifying the energy impact of RWJF funded environmental and policy changes, measured in the unit of kilocalories per person per day. Building on our energy gap/prevention model, this tool will enhance the method’s generalizability and accessibility.
- Translate the Assessing Cost Effectiveness (ACE)-Obesity experience to identify cost-effective options for policy and environmental changes for childhood obesity prevention in the United States.
Principal Investigator: Steven Gortmaker
Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more information, contact Steven Gortmaker.
The Harvard Prevention Research Center is a member of the Prevention Research Centers Program, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreement number 1-U48-DP-001946.