This week, NCCOR published a commentary titled “National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research Efforts to Advance Childhood Obesity Research: Progress and Next Steps” in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The paper celebrates a decade of NCCOR’s landmark tools—the Catalogue of Surveillance Systems and the Measures Registry—and advancements in childhood obesity research.
NCCOR was formed in 2008 to accelerate progress in childhood obesity research. At the time, researchers sought to understand rising childhood obesity rates but lacked knowledge of available data sets and measures suitable for studying childhood obesity. NCCOR responded by creating the Catalogue of Surveillance Systems and the Measures Registry in 2011. The Catalogue provides one-stop access to publicly available data sets. The Measures Registry contains a searchable database of validated measures in the four domains of childhood obesity research (individual diet, food environment, individual physical activity, and physical activity environment). These tools helped innovate the field of childhood obesity research and led to a rapid expansion of scientific progress.
The commentary explores this history and describes how the Catalogue and Registry have evolved since their initial development. The Catalogue now includes more systems relevant to schools, communities, and racial and ethnic minorities. The Registry contains more measures for rural environments, Spanish language speakers, and populations under two. NCCOR also created three training tools, known as the Measures Registry Resource Suite, to help advance the field. The User Guides explain how to select measures for childhood obesity, while the Learning Modules guide students, faculty, and those newer to research and evaluation in diet and physical activity. Finally, the Decision Tree offers guidance on when to apply, adapt, or develop a measure for different populations.
The commentary concludes by stating the Catalogue and Registry are tools worthy of celebration after a decade of use. Still, more work is needed to optimize the use of appropriate measures and to increase access to data for surveillance, evaluation, and public health action. For more information, including how academicians, students, and researchers have used the tools, visit the NCCOR website at www.nccor.org.