Design of the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (MA-CORD) Study.
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Background: Childhood obesity is highly prevalent, is associated with both short- and long-term adverse outcomes, disproportionately affects racial/ethnic minority and economically deprived children, and represents a major threat to public health. Among the most promising approaches for its prevention and management are multilevel, multisector strategies.
Methods/Design: The Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (MA-CORD) Study was a comprehensive, systematic intervention to prevent and reduce childhood obesity among low-income children ages 2-12 years in two selected cities in Massachusetts. Building on the Obesity Chronic Care Model, MA-CORD expanded a state public health department community-level obesity prevention initiative that incorporated evidence-based interventions in primary healthcare, the Women, Infants, and Children program, early care and education, schools/afterschool programs, as well as community-wide programs to improve food, beverage, physical activity (PA), and messaging environments. The study used a combination of pre- and post-time series and quasi-experimental designs to examine the extent to which the intervention resulted in changes in BMI, individual-level lifestyle behaviors, satisfaction with healthcare services, and quality of life among children, as well as changes in health policies, programs, and environments in the two intervention cities, compared to a comparison city. The intervention period was 2 years.
Conclusions: MA-CORD will determine the extent to which a multisetting, multilevel intervention that integrates activities in primary care with broader public health interventions in schools, early care and education, and the community at large can improve children's dietary and PA behaviors and ultimately reduce obesity in low-income children.