Online Program

Choose to Change: Communities Collaborate for Healthier Weights

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Shannon Ackerman, MS, WVU Extension, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Elaine Bowen, EdD, Families and Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Emily Murphy, PhD, Families and Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Megan Atkins, West Virginia University - Animal Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Tamara Grey, BA, WVU Extension, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Background: Choose to Change is a collaboration among university departments, local schools, childcare centers, Head Start, Choosy Kids LLC, community leaders, civic organizations, and participant families designed to deliver and test a multi-level intervention for obesity prevention in early childhood.  Involving various community stakeholders, Choose to Change aimed to increase awareness and knowledge about childhood obesity and encourage participation in local childhood obesity prevention events.

Methods: Two community-level initiatives were developed: 1) Community Advisory Boards (CAB) with broad representation in each project county were created to inform and guide the team in understanding community needs; and 2) Community Mini-grants were awarded to organizations for funding of projects to improve community physical activity and nutrition environments for young families.

Results: Nearly thirty individuals have served on the CABs, representing local government, parks and recreation, public health, culinary arts, biking/pedestrian safety, schools, YMCA, food retailers, and agricultural producers. CAB members were involved with the mini-grant processes, such as evaluating applications and mentoring groups in carrying out their project. Nineteen organizations were awarded $48,000 in grant funding, ranging from $500 to $4,000.

Conclusions: CAB and mini-grant processes will be assessed at the project completion. However, anecdotal information and observations of CAB members and mini-grant organizations have shown increased awareness about obesity, broader involvement in health-related services, and serendipitous collaboration among organizations. The involvement of community leaders and groups has proven to be a valuable resource during project implementation. PARTNERTOOL will be used to analyze the relationships community members have formed through the project. 

Key Words: Childhood Obesity, Community Outreach, PARTNERTOOL

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify community needs to improve physical activity and nutrition environments for young families.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration, Child Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a graduate student on the project for 1 year.
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.