CHOICES Project Continues Collaborations with Health Departments Nationwide for the Fifth Year

The Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) Project at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is working to help reverse the U.S. obesity epidemic by identifying the most cost-effective childhood obesity strategies. The CHOICES Learning Collaborative Partnership aims to build capacity among state and local decision-makers to choose and implement cost-effective strategies to reduce childhood obesity.

The CHOICES Team is delighted to announce four of our new state and local health agency partners as part of the CHOICES Learning Collaborative Partnership:

Each agency will apply cost-effectiveness analysis to assess strategies to reduce childhood obesity that are of high interest to local partners and decision-makers in their communities.

Reducing rates of childhood obesity across the United States will require well-implemented, cost-effective strategies with strong evidence for beneficial impact on health to be implemented across a variety of settings at national, state, and local levels. Preventive strategies are critical, as we cannot treat our way out of the obesity epidemic. Through the CHOICES Learning Collaborative Partnership (LCP), the CHOICES team provides training and technical assistance to state and local health agencies to understand and use cost-effectiveness analysis to identify best value for money strategies to ensure that all children grow up at a healthy weight.

These four health agencies are part of the fifth year of the CHOICES Learning Collaborative Partnership, which includes working with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) to support the health agencies involved. During the first year of the CHOICES LCP, the CHOICES Team partnered with health agencies in three states—Washington state, West Virginia, and Mississippi. During its second year of collaborations, the team partnered with health agencies in three states — Alaska, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire — and one local health agency – Philadelphia. During its third year of collaborations, the team partnered with two state health agencies – Hawaii and Minnesota — and two local health agencies — Denver and San Antonio. During its fourth year, CHOICES partnered with two county health agencies – Allegheny County, PA and Salt Lake County, UT – and two local health agencies – Detroit, MI and Houston, TX.

The CHOICES team will provide a series of collaborative sessions hosted by CHOICES in partnership with ASTHO, NACCHO, and BCHC that will give decision-makers the training and tools necessary to apply cost-effectiveness analysis to strategies of their choosing from the CHOICES menu of effective strategies. Along with identifying or collecting data relevant to these interventions, the health agencies will also share tools, resources, and best practices with local partners throughout the process. The CHOICES team provides technical assistance in evaluating each intervention’s effectiveness, implementation cost, cost-effectiveness, and impact on obesity rates, population health, and health disparities.

Though the strategies analyzed and developed may differ from place to place, the partners share the common goal of ensuring more children have healthier years ahead by investing in strategies that can make a difference in reducing childhood obesity. The partnership aims to build each site’s capacity to apply CHOICES Project tools and processes—both now and in the future—to inform decision-making, strategic planning, and tactical strategy implementation.