This series of three workshops aims to define next steps in measurement needs to accelerate progress in reducing childhood obesity. The workshops were funded as part of NCCOR’s Strategic Alliance with The JPB Foundation and were held in 2019 and early 2020. From its inception, a key priority for NCCOR has been to promote the more common use of high-quality and standardized measures and methods across childhood obesity prevention and research, surveillance, and interventions. Use of such measures enhances the potential for comparison of results across different studies and the rapid advancement of progress against childhood obesity. NCCOR has also created measurement tools for researchers and practitioners, including the Measures Registry, User Guides, and Learning Modules.

Workshop 1: Advancing Measurement of Individual Behaviors Related to Childhood Obesity

The first workshop, held on May 20–21, 2019, gathered together leading experts to (1) explore next steps for measurement science relevant to emerging areas for diet and physical activity in children, particularly from birth to age 12 years, and (2) examine measurement science issues in two other topics of new relevance to childhood obesity—sedentary behavior and sleep. The white paper presents an overview of each presentation of the workshop as well as a synthesis of cross-domain priorities to advance measurement of individual behaviors related to childhood obesity.

Workshop 2: Advancing Measurement for High-Risk Populations and Communities Related to Childhood Obesity

The second workshop, held on September 23–24, 2019, convened 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.

Workshop 3: Advancing Measurement of Environmental and Policy Influences on Childhood Obesity 

The third and final workshop, held on February 27-28, 2020, brought together leading experts to (1) illustrate current challenges, needs, and gaps in measurement of environment and policy; (2) discuss current practices used to adapt existing measures and develop new measures of environment and policy; and (3) determine how NCCOR can contribute to better measurement and measurement practices over the short term (1–3 years) and medium term (3–5 years) for research and evaluation on selected environmental determinants related to childhood obesity.

Next Steps

It is anticipated that recommendations from these workshops will advance the development of improved measures that can be used across a range of research, surveillance, and intervention activities related to childhood obesity. By addressing the many levels of factors that influence childhood obesity and with focused work within high-risk groups, NCCOR hopes these efforts will ultimately help reduce health inequities associated with childhood obesity.

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