SCOPE Engages Communities To Prevent Childhood Obesity

SCOPE Engages Communities To Prevent Childhood Obesity

A multidisciplinary team of scientists from British Columbia has advanced a participatory action research program to assist and address healthy body weight in children in order to help prevent pediatric obesity.

The Sustainable Childhood Obesity Prevention through Community Engagement (SCOPE) program has a clear mission statement and was designed to engage communities and encourage them to take action in order to prevent childhood obesity. The first phase of the SCOPE program received funding by Child Health BC and has been initiated in communities throughout British Columbia. The outcomes of the program were published in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology journal.

SCOPE encourages children to eat five or more fruits each day; to “power down” on using electronics and spend a maximum of 2 hours of screen time each day; to play actively for a minimum of 1 hour each day; and to consume zero sugar-sweetened beverages and choose healthy food instead. They summarize these suggestions as “Live 5-2-1-0.”

“In order to truly address the complex issue of , researchers need to work in partnership with community stakeholders who influence the environments in which children live and play. This partnership approach is critical to achieving sustainable change across multiple sectors of a community so that the healthy choice is the easy choice for children. It is critical that funding agencies not only recognize the need for projects like SCOPE, but also appreciate the time, effort, resources and funding that are required to generate a community-wide coordinated effort to create healthier environments for children. There is not one solution, nor any one individual, organization, or sector that is solely responsible,” said Shazhan Amed, leading author of the study.

Insufficient resources and financial ability were identified as the major obstacles to effectively launching childhood obesity programs in communities. The funding and organization provided by SCOPE assisted communities in British Columbia to work smarter instead of harder through finding partnerships, sharing their resources and minimizing redundant efforts to curtail the obesity epidemic, particularly in underprivileged neighborhoods.

The SCOPE program will continue to proceed by adopting, adapting and evaluating the relevance of SCOPE in many other communities and providing information on engagement and impact of a wide variety of organizational capabilities, seasons, and program timelines for addressing obesity.

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