healthy futures framed

The Role of Obesity in Maternal and Child Health Disparities
in Jefferson County, AL

Principal Investigator: Monica L. Baskin, PhD, (UAB)
Community Investigator: Kelly Grantham, MS (Jefferson County Commission for Economic Opportunity, Inc.)
Program Coordinator: Teneasha Washington, MPH (UAB)
Community Outreach Liaison: Joanice Thompson (UAB)

Funded by: The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Grant Number: R13HD077085

Non-Hispanic blacks in the United States are disproportionately at risk for a number of chronic health conditions such as cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Living in the Deep South is also associated with higher rates of obesity as well as poor health outcomes. These conditions are exasperated when looking at children and adults in low-income areas. Nearly 80% of non-Hispanic black women and 29% of non-Hispanic black 2-5 year olds are overweight or obese. Research has indicated that childhood obesity is linked to increasing disease risk for chronic conditions later on in life. However promising research shows that obese children who later become non-obese adults, lower their risk of chronic disease to a level similar to people who were never obese as children. The Healthy Futures program is an early intervention initiative focused on the achievement of healthy weight, regular physical activity, and healthy diets to slow or reverse the trajectory of elevated chronic disease risk. In collaboration with the Jefferson County Commission for Economic Opportunity, Inc. (JCCEO), the grant utilizes a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to better identify the primary contributors of obesity in Jefferson County, AL, among low-income non-Hispanic black women of childbearing age and their young children. This grant will develop relevant evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies that promote health equity and improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations.

The aims of the study are: (1) establish and maintain academic-community partnerships to better understand and address the role of obesity in disparities in maternal and child outcomes; (2) identify community assets, needs, and opportunities in order to identify a community-relevant interventions; (3) implement health education/promotion activities with low-income mothers and children; and (4) develop a long-term collaborative CBPR research agenda to reduce health disparities.