Online Program

Partnering with businesses to improve food and physical activity environments: Lessons from the CDC's Prevention Research Centers

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Erin Lebow-Skelley, MPH, Emory Prevention Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Matthew Murphy, PhD, MS, Prevention Research Centers Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

The Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) are a network of academic research centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct applied public health prevention research. Over half of the PRCs’ core research projects from 2009-2014 addressed nutrition, physical activity, and/or obesity (NPAO). Many of these were environmental approaches, one of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s (NCCDPHP) four priority domains. The business sector can play an important role in environmental approaches, and yet few studies have focused on these public-private partnerships (PPPs).


We used data collected from PRCs from 2010-2013 to create an inventory of PRC environmental approaches to NPAO.  We conducted a qualitative analysis of publications from four representative PPP projects to compare their experiences and lessons learned.


From 2010 to 2013, PRCs implemented 638 environmental approaches. Of those, 422 addressed NPAO. These approaches involved communities, schools, governments, businesses, healthcare settings, and worksites. Among PPPs, nutrition was the most commonly targeted health outcome and restaurants the most common setting. The four business partners selected for in-depth analysis included restaurants, childcare centers, worksites, and corner stores. These four projects shared common barriers (e.g., business heterogeneity) and facilitators (e.g., adaptability) to project adoption and maintenance.


PRCs have partnered with a variety of sectors to address NPAO using environmental approaches. The experiences of the PRCs PPPs provide useful lessons to other researchers and practitioners who want to partner with businesses to address NPAO topics.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Describe different environmental approaches employed by Prevention Research Centers to address nutrition, physical activity, and obesity, particularly those involving for-profit businesses. Identify barriers and facilitators to partnering with businesses to address nutrition, physical activity, and obesity.

Keyword(s): Built Environment, Public/Private Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a Fellow with the CDC's Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program for 1.5 years, working on planning, developing, implementing, and analyzing data for the PRC national evaluation. Prior to joining the CDC I worked at the PRC in North Carolina, where I received my MPH in Health Behavior. Among my scientific interests are program evaluation and nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention through built environment interventions.
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.