Since 1998, the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HPRC) has participated in drawing national attention to the need for replicable, effective strategies to improve nutrition and physical activity and prevent excess weight gain through the use of a social-ecological perspective. Together with our community partners, we have launched groundbreaking research in a variety of settings and disseminate tools and trainings within our partner communities and states, as well as nationally and internationally.
Our team explores policies, programs, and practices that can improve nutrition and physical activity and promote healthy weight for children and their families. We focus on strategies that are cost-effective, highlighting those that improve population health and advance health equity. We also help partners put these effective strategies into place in community settings. Based within the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, we are members of a national network of Prevention Research Centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Why It Matters
Childhood is a crucial period for developing healthy habits. Many preventive strategies play a critical role in helping children establish healthy behaviors early on in life. Eating healthy, moving more, drinking water, reducing sugary drink consumption, and reducing exposure to the marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks can all contribute to better health outcomes for both children and adults. Our research focuses on advancing these key priority areas through a cost-effectiveness lens to promote healthier environments, improve both child and population health, reduce health disparities, and advance health equity.
What We Do
Working closely with collaborators, community partners, and our Community Advisory Board, we aim to:
- Work with partners to evaluate large scale community initiatives, developing evidence-based interventions using rigorous study designs
- Promote widespread adoption of cost-effective and evidence-based prevention strategies to promote healthy weight, nutrition, and physical activity
- Offer nutrition and physical activity resources, tools, curricula, and professional training opportunities
- Conduct training and mentoring activities for faculty, staff, students, and partners to increase capacity to conduct community-engaged research
Who We Support
We provide resources, training, and support to leaders and staff in organizations whose work directly influences opportunities for improving the health of children and their families. These include:
- Public health agencies at the state, county, and city levels
- Departments of education and local education agencies
- Community-based organizations that provide services or support for children and their families
- Health care settings that provide care and services to children and their families
- Students, researchers, and future public health leaders
The widespread use of cost-effective policies, programs, and practices that ensure all children and their families lead healthier lives.
To work with community partners to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate cost-effective strategies that will improve population nutrition and physical activity, prevent excess weight gain and chronic disease, and advance health equity.
The Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HPRC) is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U48DP006376). The findings and conclusions are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other funders.