For more than three years, Cleveland State University has worked in partnership with several hundred residents of Clevelandís Central neighborhood to fight obesity. The University will host a Community Meeting, which open to the public, on Tuesday, June 30 from 5-7 p.m. to disseminate the findings of this National Institutes of Health-funded research venture and discuss the next steps.
The Community Meeting will be at Friendly Inn Settlement House, 2386 Unwin Road.
Peter Whitt of CSUís Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs is principal investigator of the project, called Advancing Centralís Health Together (ACT). The project involves Central residents in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to develop an activity to address obesity as well as implement a pilot intervention.
CBPR actively engages the community in the processes that shape and conduct research. Residents helped structure the research, actively took part in the process and assisted with disseminating the findings.
During the June 30 meeting, the team will discuss findings from the pilot intervention, which took place at four local recreation sites and focused on nutrition, physical activity, rhythmic movement and assessment. Seventy-three 8-12-year-olds and their families took part; in addition to weight loss, improvement was shown in seven areas of physiological and behavioral change. The long-term impact of these findings could lead to healthier lifestyles, lower rates of obesity, and disease prevention.
As part of ACTís mission to build and sustain community partnerships, Cleveland State formed a strong partnership with St. Vincent Charity Hospital and the resident-driven Building Healthy Communities initiative. A group of residents meet monthly to work with researchers to decide the focus of the obesity research, how it will be organized, how those effects will be measured, and how the findings will be communicated.
The project includes leadership training, social marketing to inform more residents about healthy living and nutrition, and the PhotoVoice project, in which 12 resident photographers documented their experiences of the strengths and weaknesses of the Central neighborhood. An exhibit of their work will be the cornerstone of the Community Meeting, with 35 images showcased.
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