There are studies on the obesity epidemic, strategies developed to combat it, policies proposed as well. Efforts all for naught, if the populations targeted won’t respond. A new project, using an innovative research approach, aims for something more meaningful.
“I can get you to move around eat less and you will lose weight, but the problem is that I cannot follow you around 24 hours a day,” said Rebecca Lee, assistant professor and director of the UH Texas Obesity Research Center. “We need some kind of sustainable solution to prevent and treat obesity.”
Lee’s “Science and Community” project (full name: Science and Community: Ending Obesity Improving Health) works with stakeholders in the Houston Latino and African American communities, populations with steep obesity rates. Her approach is something called community based participatory research.
“We’re here with the science and we reach out to the community to try to develop that bridge, to try to immerse that science in the community, so that science becomes part of the community and an important part of sustaining good health,” she said.
There are many examples of community-based participatory research, but mainly in the area of heart and cardio-vascular disease.
Lee’s effort is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. Through receptions, surveys and other networking opportunities, Lee and community members talk, debate and, together, decide meaningful strategy for meaningful programs and policy.
“I am very optimistic this will yield good health and a better future for all of us.”
The Science & Community Program is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.
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