226218 Community-Driven Action Research: Addressing Weight Disparities among African-American and Black Youth in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Virginia Chomitz, PhD , The Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, MA
Josefine Wendel, MS, RD, LDN , School Health Program, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Bernice Raveche Garnett, MPH , Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Hycienth Ahaneku, MPH, MD , Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
Lisa Arsenault, PhD , The Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, MA
Chandra Banks, MEd , Distric Wide Conflict Mediator, Cambridge Public Schools, Cambridge, MA
Ardeene Goodridge , Area IV Neighborhood Coordinator, Margaret Fuller House, Cambridge, MA
Richard Harding , Men of Color Program, Cambridge Publich Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Robin Harris , Fletcher Maynard Academy, Cambridge, MA
Leroi Hicks, MD, MPH , Division of Hospital Medicine, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, MA
Justeen Hyde, PhD , Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
Karen Hacker, MD, MPH , Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
Background: In Cambridge, MA, as nationally, obesity among African American and Black (Black) youth is disproportionately high compared with other racial/ethnic groups. After universal school-based interventions in Cambridge (2004-2007), obesity among children grades kindergarten-8th declined significantly (20.2% to 18.0%), but disparities in obesity by race/ethnicity persist (24.1% Black vs 11.3% white students, 2007). This has initiated community action.

Objective: To use community-based participatory research (CBPR) to understand persisting body mass index (BMI) disparities among Black youth and to inform intervention design that targets the proximal and distal causes for these inequalities. This project will 1) explore the socio-cultural, economic and environmental web of causality of childhood obesity among Cambridge black youth and 2) design a pilot intervention to reduce BMI disparities.

Methods: This project utilizes mixed quantitative and qualitative methodologies, including: 1) secondary data analysis of BMI and socio-demographic information, 2) parent-child dyad interviews to identify cultural norms regarding healthy weight and factors that promote/hinder healthy eating (HE) and physical activity (PA) 3) surveys to elucidate socio-cultural influences, family behaviors, HE-PA patterns, 4) disseminate findings at community workshops to facilitate consensus-building and solicit input for intervention design.

Research partners include multi-disciplinary researchers and community members from the Institute for Community Health, Cambridge Public Schools, Area Four Neighborhood Coalition, Cambridge Public Health Department, Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women's Hospital,

Conclusion: Interest in BMI disparities is strong among the Cambridge Black community. The public health collaboration in Cambridge should serve as an exemplar model.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate integral components of community action research to address health disparities and disparities associated with diet and physical activity patterns 2. Highlight the importance of community participation in intervention design, implementation and evaluation

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have been a part of the community research team, served as the administrative coordinator for the project and and have been involved in the qualitative data collection.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4261.0: Obesity Prevention Policy