Background: Although surveillance data are limited in the US Affiliated Pacific, Alaska, and Hawaii, existing data suggest that the prevalence of childhood obesity is similar to or in excess of other minority groups in the contiguous US. Strategies for addressing the childhood obesity epidemic in the region support the use of community-based, environmentally targeted interventions. The Children's Healthy Living Program is a partnership formed across institutions in the US Affiliated Pacific, Alaska, and Hawaii to design a community randomized environmental intervention trial and a prevalence survey to address childhood obesity in the region through affecting the food and physical activity environment.
Methods/design: The Children's Healthy Living Program community randomized trial is an environmental intervention trial in four matched-pair communities in American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and Hawaii and two matched-pair communities in Alaska. A cross-sectional sample of children (goal n = 180) in each of the intervention trial communities is being assessed for outcomes at baseline and at 24 months (18 months post-intervention). In addition to the collection of the participant-based measures of anthropometry, diet, physical activity, sleep and acanthosis nigricans, community assessments are also being conducted in intervention trial communities. The Freely Associated States of Micronesia (Federated States of Micronesia, and Republics of Marshall Islands and Palau) is only conducting elements of the Children's Healthy Living Program sampling framework and similar measurements to provide prevalence data. In addition, anthropometry information will be collected for two additional communities in each of the 5 intervention jurisdictions to be included in the prevalence survey. The effectiveness of the environmental intervention trial is being assessed based on the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, maintenance) framework.
Discussion: The Children's Healthy Living Program environmental trial is designed to focus on capacity building and to maximize the likelihood of sustainable impact on childhood obesity-related behaviors and outcomes. The multiple measures at the individual, community, and environment levels are designed to maximize the likelihood of detecting change. This approach enhances the likelihood for identifying and promoting the best methods to promote health and well-being of the children in the underserved US Affiliated Pacific Region.
Trial registration: NIH clinical trial # NCT01881373.