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Project Details

Studying Community Programs to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Project Summary: 

The Healthy Communities Study (HCS) is a 5 year study to investigate how nutrition and physical activity programs and policies in communities across the United States (U.S.) influence children’s weight status and health, and to identify community-related factors that contribute to greater success in promoting health among children. This is the largest study of its kind in the US, with 279 communities and over 23,000 children taking part. The Healthy Communities Study is collecting information from community members on local health programs and policies; from families on their child's health, eating and physical activity behaviors; from health care providers (with parent's/caregiver's approval) on the child's health history; and from local schools and communities on their physical activity and food environments.

Main Findings: 

The Healthy Communities Study will report findings on:

  1. associations between community programs/policies and Body Mass Index (BMI), diet, and physical activity in children aged 3-15 years
  2. the community, family, and child characteristics that affect the associations between community programs/policies and BMI, diet, and physical activity in children
  3. a comparison between communities with different socioeconomic, racial and ethnic composition (particular communities with high proportions of African Americans, Latinos and low income) – to assess the differences in associations between community programs/policies and BMI, diet and physical activity of children
Policy, Practice or Research Impacts: 

The purpose of the Healthy Communities Study is to identify promising program and policy characteristics that may prevent and control obesity in children. The results will inform funders, policy makers and health promotion professionals in efforts to design/adapt the most effective elements of programs and policies to address the obesity epidemic, particularly in high risk communities.

Contact Person: 
Karen Webb
Contact Person's Email Address:
Atkins Center for Weight and Health, UC Berkeley
Principal Investigators: 
Patricia Crawford
Website for Project or Program: 
Battelle Memorial Institute, University of Kansas, University of South Carolina, EMSI
Battelle Memorial Inst./USDA; NIH, incl. NHLBI, National Cancer Inst., Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Inst. of Child and Health and Human Devel., National Inst. of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Location - States: 
279 communities throughout the continental United States