Play it forward! A community-based participatory research approach to childhood obesity prevention


Background: To date there has been limited success with childhood obesity prevention interventions. This may be due in part, to the challenge of reaching and engaging parents in interventions. The current study used a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to engage parents in cocreating and pilot testing a childhood obesity prevention intervention. Because CBPR approaches to childhood obesity prevention are new, this study aims to detail the creation, including the formation of the citizen action group (CAG), and implementation of a childhood obesity prevention intervention using CBPR methods. Method: A CBPR approach was used to recruit community members to partner with university researchers in the CAG (n = 12) to create and implement the Play It Forward! childhood obesity intervention. The intervention creation and implementation took 2 years. During Year 1 (2011-2012), the CAG carried out a community needs and resources assessment and designed a community- based and family focused childhood obesity prevention intervention. During Year 2 (2012-2013), the CAG implemented the intervention and conducted an evaluation. Families (n = 50; 25 experimental/25 control group) with children ages 6-12 years participated in Play It Forward! Results: Feasibility and process evaluation data suggested that the intervention was highly feasible and participants in both the CAG and intervention were highly satisfied. Specifically, over half of the families attended 75% of the Play It Forward! events and 33% of families attended all the events. Conclusion: Equal collaboration between parents and academic researchers to address childhood obesity may be a promising approach that merits further testing.

Publication Title

Families, Systems and Health