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Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?
community interventions; and disseminating research results to the public (NIH, 2005).
It is unclear what proportion of the NIH research effort is dedicated to obesity prevention research and what proportion is dedicated to clinical research on treatment methods or basic research on the endocrine or metabolic mechanisms of obesity. To achieve the strategic plan’s goals, activities must be coordinated among the NIH institutes, offices, and centers. Effective coordination has been identified as a formidable challenge for the implementation of other NIH strategic plans, including the Health Disparities Research Program, because of the research’s scope and complexity and NIH’s organizational and functional setting (IOM, 2006b). The committee’s perspective is that similar challenges exist for effectively coordinating the Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research.
CDC’s Prevention Research Center (PRC) programs also play an important role in obesity prevention research. The 33 currently funded PRC programs have established academic and community-based partnerships that collaboratively conduct research addressing the immediate health needs of communities. The community and university research partners identify the successful aspects of projects that can be disseminated to other communities (CDC, 2006c). Seven PRCs have projects that focus on obesity prevention such as Preventing Obesity in the United States. Other projects are Guidelines for Obesity Prevention and Control (Yale University), Adapting the Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH) for Obesity Prevention and Control (University of Texas at Houston), Planet Health—A Health Education Program for School Children (Harvard University), Dietary Contributions to Obesity and Adolescents (Harvard University), and Impact of Neighborhood Design and Availability of Public Transportation on Physical Activity and Obesity Among Chicago Youths (Harvard University) (CDC, 2006c). A network of PRCs, referred to as the Physical Activity Policy Research Network, is collaborating to study policies and policy development pertaining to physical activity. Additionally, 7 PRCs and 12 state health departments are collaborating with the Center for Weight and Health at the University of California at Berkeley to review the dietary and developmental influences on obesity (Woodward-Lopez et al., 2006).
STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
The Health in the Balance report called for state and local governments to implement the report’s recommendations through the provision of coordinated leadership and support for childhood obesity efforts, particularly those focused on high-risk populations, by increasing resources and strengthening policies that promote opportunities for healthful eating and physical activity