Identification of measurement needs to prevent childhood obesity in high-risk populations

Washington D.C. — A new paper published today in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine describes available diet and physical activity measures from The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) for populations at high-risk for obesity. The paper, Identification of measurement needs to prevent childhood obesity in high-risk populations and environments, reviews NCCOR’s landmark tool, the Measures Registry. The Registry was developed in 2011 to improve the quality of research related to dietary and physical activity behaviors and related environments, contribute to standardization across studies, and ultimately better inform policies and programs to promote the health of children. The Measures Registry is available for free at

The new paper details an updated 2013 review of the Measures Registry, in which the authors identified and characterized individual and environmental measures of diet and physical activity used among high-risk populations. Of 351 measures added to NCCOR’s Measures Registry since 2013, 38 were used in populations at increased risk for childhood obesity. Few measures existed for certain racial/ethnic groups (American Indian/Alaska Native, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Asian), children with disabilities or special health care needs, and rural (vs. urban) communities. Many of the previously identified gaps in population coverage remain.

The review identified the need for rigorous, community-engaged methodological research to help researchers better adapt and validate measures for high-risk populations. NCCOR has continued to develop resources to measure populations at high-risk for obesity. In September 2019, NCCOR held a workshop convening leading research and practice experts to (1) illustrate current challenges, needs, and gaps in measurement for high-risk populations, (2) discuss current practices used to adapt existing measures and develop new measures for high-risk populations, and (3) develop short-term (1-3 years) and medium-term (3-5 years) recommendations for NCCOR, researchers, practitioners, and funders to address measurement gaps. A white paper on the workshop and research tool aimed to help researchers apply, adapt, and develop measures for high-risk populations is forthcoming at


The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (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 accelerate progress in reducing childhood obesity in America.


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