Using Systems Science and Statistical Models to Address Obesity Research Questions
The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Envision project coordinates and supports statistical modeling efforts to forecast the impact of public health policies and interventions on childhood obesity on a population-wide level and among specific subpopulations.
Envision consists of various modeling teams conducting research to gain insight into the most effective ways of preventing obesity. As part of NCCOR’s effort to build capacity for multi-level, integrated research, members examine the effects of individual, socio-cultural, economic, environmental, and policy forces on children’s diet, physical activity, energy balance, and body weight.
Launched initially with a small group of modelers from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia, Envision now brings together over fifty leading modelers worldwide. The development of statistical simulation models in close collaboration with leading researchers working on cohort and intervention studies provides a powerful tool for assessing public health policies for childhood obesity prevention. As we have seen from similar investments in tobacco control research, mathematical models can help guide intervention and funding strategies and can be an invaluable support to policymakers.
Through Envision, NCCOR hopes to achieve:
- Greater understanding of the complex etiology of childhood obesity;
- Comparative evaluations of energy balance models;
- Comparative evaluations of models projecting the impact and cost-effectiveness of different policy and environmental changes;
- Virtual testing of the effects of different combinations and sequences of childhood obesity interventions;
- Continued collaboration, cooperation, and strategic networking among modeling groups; and
- Development and dissemination of scientific papers, presentations, and reports.