January 2018





Call for comments: NIH P2P Workshop

January 25, 2018, NCCOR

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosted a Pathways to Prevention (P2P) Workshop December 5–6, 2017, to provide an unbiased, evidence-based assessment of methods for evaluating natural experiments in obesity. The workshop brought together a distinguished panel of 5 researchers and more than 30 speakers to identify research gaps. The speakers addressed six overarching questions about data sources, methodology, measures, risk of bias, and needed advances in methodology and analytics.

NCCOR members helped plan the workshop and shared NCCOR resources with participants. Presentations by Drs. Shari Barkin, Jamie Chriqui, Lisa Powell, and James Sallis highlighted NCCOR’s Measures Registry and Catalogue of Surveillance Systems and offered recommendations to make these tools even more robust for researchers and practitioners.

Following the two-day workshop, the independent panel produced a draft report summarizing workshop presentations, identifying research gaps, and sharing recommendations on ways the research community can increase the methodological rigor of natural experiments. The draft report is open for public comment, and NIH is seeking responses by January 29, 2018. When submitting feedback, please reference a corresponding line number in the report. Send comments via email to NIHP2P@mail.nih.gov.

For more information, visit https://www.prevention.nih.gov/p2p-workshop/2017/methods-evaluating-natural-experiments-obesity/panel-report.

Original source: https://www.nccor.org/2018/01/19/call-for-comments-nih-p2p-workshop

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Publications & Tools

The Challenge of Treating Obesity and Overweight: Proceedings of a Workshop

The Roundtable on Obesity Solutions held “The Challenge of Treating Obesity and Overweight: A Workshop” in Washington, DC. The workshop featured presentations and discussions that explored current obesity treatment approaches, their effectiveness, and challenges in implementing them; emerging treatment opportunities; payment and policy considerations; development of a workforce to provide obesity treatments; health equity issues involved in treatment; and promising paths to move forward. The proceedings summarize information presented and discussed at the workshop and reflect the knowledge and opinions of individual workshop participants.

Access the proceedings: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2017/the-challenge-of-treating-obesity-and-overweight-proceedings.aspx

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Historical Dietary Guidance Digital Collection

The Historical Dietary Guidance Digital Collection is an online tool that provides reliable, long-term access over 100 years of published dietary advice by the U.S. government. This collection, part of the National Agricultural Library Digital Collections, allows users to browse and search the full text of more than 900 historical and contemporary publications on federal dietary guidance and nutrition education.

Access the tool: https://nutritionhistory.nal.usda.gov

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Global Harmonization of Methodological Approaches to Nutrient Intake Recommendations: Proceedings of a Workshop—In Brief

On September 21–22, 2017, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine—in partnership with the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development of the World Health Organization and the Nutrition Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization—convened a workshop in Rome to explore the evidence for achieving global harmonization of methodological approaches to establishing nutrient intake recommendations. The proceedings highlight key points from the workshop presentations and discussions.

Access the proceedings: http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2018/approaches-to-nutrient-intake-recommendations-proceedings-in-brief.aspx

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Childhood Obesity Research & News

A home visiting parenting program and child obesity: a randomized trial

January 16, 2018, American Academy of Pediatrics



Young children living in historically marginalized families are at risk for becoming adolescents with obesity and subsequently adults with increased obesity-related morbidities. These risks are particularly acute for Hispanic children. We hypothesized that the prevention-focused, socioecological approach of the “Minding the Baby” (MTB) home visiting program might decrease the rate of childhood overweight and obesity early in life.


This study is a prospective longitudinal cohort study in which we include data collected during 2 phases of the MTB randomized controlled trial. First-time, young mothers who lived in medically underserved communities were invited to participate in the MTB program. Data were collected on demographics, maternal mental health, and anthropometrics of 158 children from birth to 2 years.


More children in the intervention group had a healthy BMI at 2 years. The rate of obesity was significantly higher (P < .01) in the control group (19.7%) compared with the intervention group (3.3%) at this age. Among Hispanic families, children in the MTB intervention were less likely to have overweight or obesity (odds ratio = 0.32; 95% confidence interval: 0.13–0.78).


Using the MTB program, we significantly lowered the rate of obesity among 2-year-old children living in low-socioeconomic-status communities. In addition, children of Hispanic mothers were less likely to have overweight or obesity at 2 years. Given the high and disproportionate national prevalence of Hispanic young children with overweight and obesity and the increased costs of obesity-related morbidities, these findings have important clinical, research, and policy implications.

Original source: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-1076

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Trends in severe obesity among children aged 2 to 4 years enrolled in Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children from 2000 to 2014

January 8, 2018, JAMA Pediatrics



Severe obesity in childhood is associated with negative health consequences. A previous study examined trends in severe obesity among preschool-aged children in low-income families during 1998 to 2010. No recent trends have been reported.


To examine trends in severe obesity by age, sex, and race/ethnicity among enrollees in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) aged 2 to 4 years during 2000 to 2014.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Serial cross-sectional data from 22.6 million young children enrolled in WIC from 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 5 US territories from 2000 to 2014. Data analysis was conducted from February 16, 2017, to March 9, 2017.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Prevalence of severe obesity. Severe obesity was defined as a sex-specific body mass index-for-age 120% or more of the 95th percentile on the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. Children’s weights and heights were measured. Children whose sex, weight, height, or body mass index was missing or biologically implausible were excluded.


The prevalence of severe obesity was 1.96% in 2014. During 2000 to 2004, the prevalence increased significantly overall from 1.80% to 2.11% (adjusted prevalence difference [APD], 0.26%) and among all the age, sex, and racial/ethnic groups except for Asian/Pacific Islander (APD, 0.05%-0.54% across groups with increases). The largest relative increase occurred in children aged 4 years (adjusted prevalence ratio [APR], 1.21) and non-Hispanic white (APR, 1.22) and American Indian/Alaska Native children (APR, 1.19). During 2004 to 2010, the prevalence decreased significantly overall (APD, −0.05%), among boys, children aged 2 and 3 years, and non-Hispanic black and Asian/Pacific Islander children (APD, −0.05% to −0.18%). During 2010 to 2014, the prevalence decreased significantly overall from 2.12% to 1.96% (APD, −0.14%) and among all demographic groups (APD, −0.04% to −0.30% across groups). The largest relative decrease occurred in children aged 2 years (APR, 0.88) and Hispanic (APR, 0.92), American Indian/Alaska Native (APR, 0.89), and Asian/Pacific Islander (APR, 0.87) children.

Conclusions and Relevance

This study provides updated prevalence and trends of severe obesity among young children enrolled in WIC and reports recent modest declines in severe obesity in all subgroups. Ongoing surveillance can assess whether declines continue into the future among low-income children.

Original source: http://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.4301

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Sleep and adiposity in preadolescent children: the importance of social jetlag

January 3, 2018, Childhood Obesity



While short and poor quality sleep have been associated with childhood obesity, no known studies have examined social jetlag. Social jetlag is the discrepancy between an individual’s circadian clock and social rhythms, and is measured as the difference in hours between the midpoint of sleep during work/school days and on free (weekend) days. This study investigated the independent associations between sleep duration, sleep disturbances, and social jetlag with adiposity in children.


A cross-sectional study, including 341 children (50% female) aged 8–10 years. Five dependent variables: body fat (%), fat mass (kg), fat mass index (FMI, kg/m2), waist to hip ratio, and body mass index (kg/m2). Three independent variables: average sleep duration, sleep disturbances, and social jetlag.


Following adjustment for confounders, sleep duration was not associated with any variable, and sleep disturbances were associated with FMI (β = 0.047, 95% CI: 0.002, 0.093 kg/m2), while social jetlag was associated with all five adiposity variables, including an absolute 3% greater body fat (β = 2.963, 95% CI: 0.40, 5.53%) per 1 hour of social jetlag.


Social jetlag may be an important and measurable public health target in children.

Original source: https://doi.org/10.1089/chi.2017.0272

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Implementation of multisetting interventions to address childhood obesity in diverse, lower-income communities: CDC’s Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration projects

December 21, 2017, CDC

Childhood obesity continues to be a local, state, and national problem affecting not only children but their families, schools, employers, and communities. Obesity affects approximately 12.5 million (17%) US children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years, with higher levels among some groups of children, including those living in low-income households. Obesity can have harmful effects during childhood. Children who have obesity are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. They are more likely to have asthma, sleep apnea, fatty liver, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Obesity is also related to psychosocial problems in children, such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and social problems such as bullying and stigma. To address obesity, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), among other groups, has called for interventions to alter nutrition and physical activity environments and promote behavior change in multiple settings to reach adults and children. For children, in addition to the home setting, other settings that can help support obesity prevention and aid healthy child growth include early care and education (ECE) or child care, schools, community, and health care.

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity funded 3 grantees under the 4-year Childhood Obesity Demonstration (CORD) Project. The 3 grantees are located in Massachusetts (MA CORD), California (CA CORD), and Texas (TX CORD). The aim of CORD was to improve weight and healthy growth among low-income children by improving obesity-related behaviors, including diet, physical activity, screen time, and sleep. Grantees engaged with community coalitions and organizations to deliver evidence-based interventions in the places where families live, learn, and seek health care, and they used the Obesity Chronic Care Model. The framework and research design of CORD are described elsewhere. The MA CORD project was conducted in 2 cities, one with approximately 40,000 residents and the other with approximately 95,000 residents. CA CORD took place in 3 rural communities along the California–Mexico border, and the TX CORD covered catchment areas in 2 large cities.

This special collection features 5 articles authored by CORD grantees and focuses on the real-world implementation of evidence-based interventions across multiple settings. CORD built on each community’s existing work and aimed to improve the knowledge and skills of parents, providers, teachers, and organizational leaders in nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. The collection explores and identifies factors that are critical to stakeholder engagement and implementation of interventions in racially and ethnically diverse communities.

The collection also helps highlight the importance of implementation science. The National Cancer Institute defines implementation science as the “study of methods to promote the adoption and integration of evidence-based practices, interventions and policies into routine health care and public health settings in order to improve our impact on population health”. This collection helps further our understanding of how interventions are adopted and integrated into existing organizations such as schools, health care facilities, and child care centers and delves into the factors necessary to build support and engagement for successful implementation. The collection can help local health departments, researchers, organization leaders, and community coalitions plan for and integrate evidence-based prevention and lifestyle-management interventions into routine settings for all children, by describing not only what to do but how to do it.

Overview of articles in the collection

The article by Ganter et al, CORD researchers in Massachusetts, examines the role of stakeholder engagement to support the implementation of the multisetting CORD intervention and uses qualitative methods to identify successes and lessons learned. It offers insight into whole-of-community interventions and helps us understand the need for administrative and leadership support, early involvement of intervention implementers, and the importance of regular communication, especially across the intervention sectors. Researchers cite some of the successes of the MA CORD implementation, including high levels of acceptability of the intervention among target audiences, increased linkages to community resources, and opportunities to implement new intervention activities to benefit children and families in their community. Stakeholders also reported that increased engagement of parents was a vital feature associated with health care visits to primary care providers and providers in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program. Parent engagement also improved participation rates in school activities. Stakeholders posited that improvements could have resulted from MA CORD’s consistent messaging to parents and families about 5 critical health behaviors along with increased community awareness of the problem of childhood obesity.

Researchers in CA CORD, Chuang et al, examined factors affecting implementation of the CA CORD intervention. They interviewed stakeholders and project leaders across each of the 3 rural CORD settings (school, ECE, and health care) and found similar implementation facilitators and barriers across the settings. Facilitators included engaging parents and obtaining support from all levels of the organization, including higher levels of organization leadership and key staff members, such as teachers who carried out intervention activities. Reported barriers included staff turnover and limited access to supportive resources in the community at large. Addressing these barriers may be particularly important in rural communities like those in CA CORD.

Byrd-Williams et al help further our understanding of the perspectives of ECE providers such as directors and teachers. Their cross-sectional study elucidates how Head Start directors and teachers were meeting best practices for nutrition and physical activity and the barriers these important caregivers faced in implementing best practices. Common barriers such as lack of time, resources, and funds were cited by both teachers and directors. Public health practitioners may consider addressing these barriers when planning and implementing evidence-based ECE interventions.

CDC’s School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity recommends comprehensive school interventions that have an impact on both nutrition and physical activity. However, more can be learned about how stakeholders in schools can increase capacity to undertake comprehensive interventions. The article by Blaine et al focuses on the school setting. It uses a mixed-methods approach to describe facilitators and barriers to implementation in the 2 school districts in Massachusetts that participated in the CORD intervention. Facilitators included having the principal as a champion, using students as peers to engage other students, and integrating school-wide messaging strategies. Barriers included competing needs from standardized testing and academic requirements, teachers not being informed about the intervention, and staff turnover. The authors outline 4 essential lessons that may be helpful to researchers and practitioners in carrying out school-based interventions.

Finally, an article by Barlow et al describes the real-world experiences in the health care setting related to recruitment and enrollment of low-income children with obesity from primary care practices into an intensive childhood obesity intervention based in the community. This descriptive analysis provides insight into what factors might cause providers to refer children to behavioral weight-management programs such as those in TX CORD and, more importantly, what factors influence families to enroll in these programs. Information in this article can help inform others about what strategies might be effective for recruiting children in low-income families into family-centered childhood weight-management programs.

This collection sheds light on factors affecting the implementation of multisector interventions or whole-of-community interventions, including what resonates with diverse stakeholders. These articles contribute to knowledge about how to effectively coordinate and implement approaches that aim to prevent childhood obesity and support children and families in diverse communities already struggling with obesity.

Original source: https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2017/17_0491.htm

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The intergenerational transmission of obesity: the role of time preferences and self-control

December 20, 2017, Economic & Human Biology


Previous research has found that impatient time preferences and self-control problems (present bias) are related to increased obesity risk. However, scant evidence exists pertaining to whether parents’ impatience and self-control problems impact the obesity status of their children, too. Accordingly, we explore this study question among a large national sample of US adults and their children. Study results confirm previous findings indicating that intertemporal preferences are related to adults’ obesity status. Moreover, these results extend the literature by finding that children of impatient or present-biased parents have a significantly higher likelihood of being obese, too. Specifically, parents’ low levels of patience and present bias were each independently related to a five-percentage point increase in the likelihood of obesity of their children. These findings were more pronounced when all children were combined in analyses and for the first child; however, they varied for the second and third child. Thus, findings suggest that parents’ time preferences and self-control problems likely affect not only their own weight status but that of their children.

Original source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ehb.2017.12.004

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