236386 Using Community-Based Participatory Research to address healthy lifestyles and childhood obesity in Charlotte, NC

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Meredith King Ledford, MPP , Health Promotion, Mecklenburg County Health Department, Charlotte, NC
Jessica Schorr Saxe, MD , Family Medicine, Carolinas Medical Center-Biddle Point, Charlotte, NC
The Healthy Weight, Healthy Child Initiative – a partnership between a health care system, the school district, and the health department in Mecklenburg County, NC– developed a community action plan to promote healthy lifestyles and to combat childhood obesity. Two building blocks were the recruitment of a coalition of key stakeholders and conducting a community assessment to understand 1) current and needed resources in the community to influence healthy living for children and 2) the barriers children and caregivers face in eating nutritiously and being physically active. In order to have the interventions in the action plan accepted and implemented, an approach based on community-based participatory research principles was utilized to engage the African American and Hispanic populations, the two populations with the highest obesity rates among public high school students in 2009 – 15.3% and 12.7% respectively. Conducting focus groups with these two populations provided a better understanding of the needed resources for healthy living in marginalized communities. The second step incorporated input from the coalition, which includes representation from local government, day care and preschool organizations, civil rights organizations, academia, business, and others. The coalition coordinated the findings of the focus groups with current resources and priorities of their respective constituencies. This process ensured that the interventions included in the action plan not only met the needs of marginalized populations, but also had greater potential to be implemented, supported, and funded within the community.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss a community action plan to address healthy lifestyles and combat childhood obesity.

Keywords: Child Health Promotion, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the Medical Director of Healthy Weight, Healthy Child and oversaw the Community-Based Participatory Research community assessment. I am a family physician in a community health center with a long-standing interest in prevention and healthy lifestyles for children.
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.