Over the past three decades, obesity has more than tripled in adolescents. In 2010, over one-third of youth were classified as overweight or obese, and Florida ranks 12th in the percentage of overweight high school students. Low-income, racial/ethnic minority youth are particularly at risk. Florida Introduces Physical Activity and Nutrition to Youth has partnered with Nova Southeastern University and local schools to create a research agenda focused on improving the health of youth in our community.
One existing policy to curb the obesity epidemic, universal body mass index screening, has been met with mixed reactions by students, caregivers, and healthcare providers. The limited research on school-based BMI screenings suggests that screenings may not be associated with harm (e.g., increases in weight-based teasing), do not lead to changes in parents’ perceptions of child weight status, and are unlikely to result in improved outcomes. Research is needed to develop and test family-centered solutions to childhood obesity based in our communities and schools.
Our aims for Tier II of this Pipeline to Proposal Award include the following:
- Solidifying our initial Core Community Advisory Board that includes representation of diverse caregivers, school administrators, and healthcare providers, with ongoing strategies for incorporating youth input directly into the board’s work
- Developing capacity among our partners through the development of training opportunities and working committees focused on education, advocacy, and research
- Executing a communication and outreach plan that leads to narrowed research priorities in conjunction with local and national stakeholder groups