Development and Implementation of a School-Based Obesity Prevention Intervention

Lessons Learned from Community-Based Participatory Research

Published In: Progress In Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, v. 3, no. 3, Fall 2009, p. 249-255

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2008

by Kimberly E. Uyeda, Laura M. Bogart, Jennifer Hawes-Dawson, Mark A. Schuster

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BACKGROUND: National, state, and local policies aim to change school environments to prevent child obesity. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) can be effective in translating public health policy into practice. OBJECTIVES: We describe lessons learned from developing and pilot testing a middle school-based obesity prevention intervention using CBPR in Los Angeles, California. METHODS: We formed a community-academic partnership between the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion to identify community needs and priorities for addressing adolescent obesity and to develop and pilot test a school-based intervention. LESSONS LEARNED: Academic partners need to be well-versed in organizational structures and policies. Partnerships should be built on relationships of trust, shared vision, and mutual capacity building, with genuine community engagement at multiple levels. CONCLUSION: These lessons are critical, not only for partnering with schools on obesity prevention, but also for working in other community settings and on other health issues.

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