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Development and Implementation of a School-based Obesity Prevention Intervention: Lessons Learned from Community-Based Participatory Research


Background: National, state, and local policies aim to change school environments to prevent child obesity. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) can be effective in translating public health policy into practice.

Objectives: We describe lessons learned from developing and pilot testing a middle school-based obesity prevention intervention using CBPR in Los Angeles, California.

Methods: We formed a community–academic partnership between the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion to identify community needs and priorities for addressing adolescent obesity and to develop and pilot test a school-based intervention.

Lessons Learned: Academic partners need to be well-versed in organizational structures and policies. Partnerships should be built on relationships of trust, shared vision, and mutual capacity building, with genuine community engagement at multiple levels.

Conclusion: These lessons are critical, not only for partnering with schools on obesity prevention, but also for working in other community settings and on other health issues.

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