Feasibility of adolescents to conduct community-based participatory research on obesity and diabetes in rural Appalachia

Clin Transl Sci. 2009 Oct;2(5):340-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-8062.2009.00155.x.


Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) has been advocated to translate advances in health care sciences to the community. We describe a novel approach applied to obesity management and diabetes prevention. This takes advantage of a network of science clubs organized by the Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) for extracurricular activity of disadvantaged high school students in rural Appalachia. Physician scientists and educators provided an intensive summer course on CBPR, ethics, and study design on obesity management and diabetes prevention. Ethical certification for CBPR investigation was obtained for 210 students and 18 mentors for a study on the prevalence of obesity and Type II diabetes within their community. Over a 6-month period, 989 had a collection of complete analyzable data, of which 103 had diabetes. The proportion with obesity (BMI > or = 30) was over 50%. The frequency of diabetes was related to increasing BMI. When BMI > or = 40, the frequency approached 50%, and exhibited a clear familial distribution. We conclude that trained adolescents can effectively conduct CBPR, and obesity and diabetes are more prevalent than previously reported in this community. This experience provides encouragement to conduct future studies to infl uence weight management from high-risk populations in this medically disadvantaged community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Appalachian Region
  • Body Mass Index
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / organization & administration*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Research Design
  • Rural Population
  • Treatment Outcome
  • West Virginia