Investments in people and cross-sector collaboration improve community readiness to combat childhood obesity, according to a new Georgia State University study published in Health Promotion Practice.
Researchers from the Georgia Health Policy Center and the Georgia State University School of Public Health assessed community readiness in four counties (Baldwin, Chatham, Cobb, and Cook) with active coalitions that were awarded a grant to further childhood obesity prevention efforts. Assessments were conducted before and after the three-year grant from the Healthcare Georgia Foundation.
Community readiness examined six specific factors, including community efforts, community knowledge of efforts, leadership, community climate, community knowledge about the issue, and resources available to support efforts.
Over the three years there were significant improvements in all dimensions of readiness except community knowledge) in all four communities. The authors say that investing in staff to support efforts, building awareness to shift the community climate, and supporting cross-sector collaboration contributed to improved community readiness.
“Communities must be guided to coordinate the design and implementation of obesity preventing activities, programs, and policies in various settings,” explains coauthor Debbie Kibbe. “They also may benefit from technical assistance on evidence-based strategies and community peer learning opportunities to build capacity for sustaining the health promotion initiatives.”
Coauthors include Erica Heath, Victoria Sanon, Dana Kennan Mast, and Rodney Lyn.
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