Designing the Healthy Communities Study

The Healthy Communities Study (HCS), funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and supported by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), aims to answer important research questions about how diet, physical activity, and body mass index (BMI) are related to aspects of community programs and policies.

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Register now for NIH mHealth Training Institute at Society of Behavioral Medicine conference

The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will host an mHealth Training Institute at the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s (SBM) 36th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions on April 22, 2015. The institute is designed to provide behavioral and social scientists with tools to successfully add mobile health (mHealth) technologies to their research. The event will offer a collaborative team environment with mentorship from leaders in the fields of engineering, medicine, and the behavioral and social sciences. Mentored by expert faculty, the institute will include presentations followed by hands-on experience developing an mHealth research project. Attendees will learn about the central multi-disciplinary aspects of mobile and wireless research; project development and implementation from conception to analysis; and cross-cutting research issues.

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Prevention of Obesity in Infancy, Early Childhood: Workshop summary and funding announcement

Once obesity develops it is likely to persist. Given this understanding, there has been an increasing focus on preventing obesity in infancy and early childhood. Research to develop and implement effective prevention and intervention strategies in the first two years after birth has been limited.

In fall 2013, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases convened a multidisciplinary workshop to summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the prevention of infant and early childhood obesity and to identify research gaps and opportunities. A workshop summary was recently published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. A related funding opportunity announcement was also released.

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Society of Behavioral Medicine announces NIH mHealth Training Institute, presidential roundtable, and exhibit featuring NCCOR

From training on mobile health (mHealth) technology to a presidential roundtable on National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) activities, resources, and funding opportunities, the upcoming Society of Behavioral Medicine’s (SBM) 36th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions in San Antonio will offer numerous opportunities to connect with NCCOR.

SBM kicks off with a preconference training on the use of mHealth technologies to prevent childhood obesity. Mentored by expert faculty, the “NIH mHealth Training Institute” will include presentations followed by hands-on experience developing an mHealth research project. Continue reading

NCI releases new Dietary Assessment Primer

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) part of the National Institutes of Health, a funder of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), is pleased to announce the availability of a web-based Dietary Assessment Primer. Various types of self-report instruments have been developed to assess dietary intake. Each has distinct features and strengths. The Dietary Assessment Primer: Continue reading

Chat with NCCOR about childhood obesity on Sept. 9


Today, nearly one out of three kids in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in the African American and Hispanic communities. Overweight and obese kids are at risk for a host of chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.

In observance of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in September, join the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research for a Twitter Chat on Sept. 9, at 2 pm, ET.

We’ll be using the hashtag #childobesitychat.

Hosted by NCCOR (@NCCOR) alongside the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (@NICHD_NIH) and National Cancer Institute (@theNCI), we’ll discuss risk factors, research, and promising strategies. Most importantly, we’ll direct you to valuable resources.

In addition, NCCOR members Layla Esposito, Ph.D., and April Oh, Ph.D., M.P.H., of NICHD and NCI, respectively, will serve as our subject matter experts and help guide the discussion.

“It’s a great opportunity to be a part of the social media conversation around childhood obesity,” said Dr. Oh.

“Working with NCCOR to engage with researchers, practitioners, and the broader public about childhood obesity using the interactive Twitter platform is a dynamic way to communicate health and disseminate information,” she added.

Please include #childobesitychat in your tweets and follow @NCCOR for more information. Also, register for our chat at

Tweet you soon!

NCCOR brings together four of the nation’s leading research funders – 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) – to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and application of childhood obesity research and accelerate progress in reducing childhood obesity.  

NIH presentation about community-academic partnerships to address obesity among middle school students

On Thursday, March 20, Dr. Laura Bogart will be discussing the development and results of Students for Nutrition and eXercise (SNaX), a five-week middle school-based obesity prevention intervention that combines school-wide food environmental changes, multimedia, encouragement to eat healthy school cafeteria foods, and peer-led education.

She will describe the formation and maintenance of the partnership with the participating school district, the Los Angeles Unified School District, as well as relevant community stakeholders; review the results of the randomized controlled trial; and discuss the policy impact of the research and program dissemination activities. Dr. Bogart is associate professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and research director of the Division of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital. Continue reading

Materials from NIH Workshop on the Prevention of Obesity in Infancy and Early Childhood

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently held a Workshop on the Prevention of Obesity in Infancy and Early Childhood that brought together scientists with expertise in pediatric obesity, epidemiology, developmental psychology, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, temperament, and parenting to determine:

  • What is known regarding risk for excess weight gain in infancy and early childhood
  • What is known regarding interventions that are promising or have been shown to be efficacious
  • Challenges and opportunities in implementing and evaluating behavioral interventions in parents and other caregivers and their young children

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NIH webinar: Strengths and weaknesses of experimental and quasi-experimental designs

The National Institutes of Health Office of Disease Prevention (OPD) is hosting a webinar tomorrow for their Medicine: Mind the Gap seminar featuring Dr. William R. Shadish, distinguished professor and founding faculty of the University of California, Merced. Dr. Shadish will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of experimental and quasi-experimental designs.

Recent years have seen important advances in the design and analysis of both randomized experiments and quasi-experiments. In particular, research has focused on empirical tests of the conditions under which nonrandomized experiments can approximate answers from a randomized experiment. Such efforts have a long history in fields such as medicine, psychology, and economics. Recent work is prompted by evidence-based practice and theoretical advances such as Rubin’s causal model. Continue reading

New funding opportunity from NIH/CDC for small business to create tools to collect health metrics

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a funding opportunity for small businesses to develop user-friendly tools facilitating the construction of environmental metrics related to the determinants: health behaviors and health care. Such metrics are gaining wider use in the research literature, notably in the development of indices of the food and physical activity environments and in quantifying access to cancer-related health resources.

The grant is funded through the NIH/CDC Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) mechanism. The SBIR program provides support for research and development (R&D) of new or improved technologies and methodologies that have the potential to succeed as commercial products. The program consists of the following three phases: Continue reading