Background: National, state, and local policies aim to change school environments to prevent child obesity. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) can be effective in translating public health policy into practice.
Objectives: We describe lessons learned from developing and pilot testing a middle school-based obesity prevention intervention using CBPR in Los Angeles, California.
Methods: We formed a community-academic partnership between the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion to identify community needs and priorities for addressing adolescent obesity and to develop and pilot test a school-based intervention.
Lessons learned: Academic partners need to be well-versed in organizational structures and policies. Partnerships should be built on relationships of trust, shared vision, and mutual capacity building, with genuine community engagement at multiple levels.
Conclusion: These lessons are critical, not only for partnering with schools on obesity prevention, but also for working in other community settings and on other health issues.