In addition to measures of the built environment for physical activity and of the food and nutrition environment, there are measures, data resources, and methods that relate to both of these environments and may help researchers and policy makers assess progress in obesity prevention. Robin McKinnon, health policy specialist in the Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch at the National Cancer Institute, described research activities of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research. Robert Malina, professor emeritus in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas, Austin, and research professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Tarleton State University, described research related to growth and BMI. Roland Sturm, senior economist at RAND and professor of policy analysis at the RAND Pardee Graduate School, discussed economic perspectives on nutrition, physical activity, and obesity interventions.

NEW TOOLS FOR CHILDHOOD OBESITY RESEARCH

Presenter: Robin McKinnon

The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research is an effort to enhance coordination of activities related to childhood obesity research.1 Four of the major funders in this area—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—joined forces to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and application of research related to childhood obesity, McKinnon explained. Newly available NCCOR tools are designed to address a range of issues facing researchers interested in childhood obesity, she noted. To make optimal research decisions, researchers need to know, for example, what data resources exist and how to gain access to them, how much they cost, and which variables can be linked across data systems, as well as what measures exist and which ones have been tested for validity and reliability.

NCCOR’s priorities include promoting the use of common measures and methods across childhood obesity prevention efforts and research, and encouraging the development of standard measures with which to describe and evaluate interventions, especially projects that address policies and environments, McKinnon explained. NCCOR has produced a new Measures Registry to facilitate access to available measures, identify gaps in measures, and foster the development of new measures. This searchable,

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1 For more information about NCCOR, see www.nccor.org (accessed August 26, 2011). NCCORs Measures Registry is available at www.nccor.org/measures, the Catalogue of Surveillance Systems at www.nccor.org/css.



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