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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UAlbany: Co-Designing Obesity Prevention Interventions Together With Children – Is it beneficial?

A recent study by a team including Dr. Janine Jurkowski shows that co-designing obesity prevention interventions with children may be beneficial because it involves the target audience throughout the process.

The researchers worked with the Kids in Action Study in the Netherlands, which aimed to improve the health behaviors of 9-12 year old children in a low socioeconomic neighborhood in Amsterdam. They combined Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) — which involves children in the development and implementation of interventions — with Intervention Mapping (IM), a structured, six-step intervention strategy based on theory and expertise, to develop obesity interventions during three school years (2016-2019).

“Youth participated in each step of the intervention development,” says Dr. Jurkowski. “We found that the children were very capable of actively participating and fully executing IM-tasks, including looking at feasibility of program ideas, thinking about possible barriers, and prioritizing tasks.”

Researchers also found that the perspectives of children on both the problem and the solution ideas provided a better understanding of the problem itself — and created a sense of ownership among the children for the interventions.

“The main challenge was balance,” explains Dr. Jurkowski. “While we found the children brought great insight into the development of the prevention efforts, it was difficult to balance responsibility for the IM tasks. Future work that combines YPAR and IM could experiment with giving the children even more responsibility to see how this impacts the development and intervention process.”

Full results can be found in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

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