Using statistical modeling to evaluate the impacts of specific policy and environmental interventions aimed at reversing the rise in childhood obesity

This project will build on previous projects solicited by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that use statistical modeling to: (1) estimate the "energy gap" (the imbalance between daily caloric intake and expenditure) responsible for the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States; and (2) identify policy and environmental interventions with the greatest potential to close the gap by 2015, both population wide and within RWJF's priority high-risk subgroups. Deliverables will include: (1) updated estimates of current energy gaps by age, race/ethnicity and income to identify progress and disparities; (2) analyses and reports of overall and subgroup-specific changes in diet, physical activity and weight from 2003-04 through 2007-08 using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data; (3) documentation of the relative caloric impact of promising evidence-based interventions to prevent childhood obesity, including those that decrease intake of empty calories and increase everyday physical activity; (4) a user-friendly caloric impact calculator for use by researchers and practitioners to estimate the relative impacts of varied policy and environmental interventions to change youth diet and physical-activity patterns; and (5) application of the Australian "Assessing Cost-Effectiveness" model to numerous interventions taking place in the United States to identify strategies that represent the "best bets" and "best buys" for reversing the rise in childhood obesity. The grantee will disseminate results through presentations, reports and peer-reviewed articles aimed at researchers and key research end users to maximize the efficacy and efficiency of efforts to prevent childhood obesity and reduce population-level disparities.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $710,576.00

Awarded on: 7/30/2009

Time frame: 8/1/2009 - 7/31/2013

Grant Number: 66284


Harvard University T. H. Chan School of Public Health

677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, 02115-6028


Steven L. Gortmaker
Project Director


Yun-Hsin Claire Wang
Project Director