Background: The aim of this paper is to describe the research aims, concepts and methods of the research Consortium Integrated Approach of Overweight (CIAO). CIAO is a concerted action of five Academic Collaborative Centres, local collaborations between academic institutions, regional public health services, local authorities and other relevant sectors in the Netherlands. Prior research revealed lacunas in knowledge of and skills related to five elements of the integrated approach of overweight prevention in children (based upon the French EPODE approach), namely political support, parental education, implementation, social marketing and evaluation. CIAO aims to gain theoretical and practical insight of these elements through five sub-studies and to develop, based on these data, a framework for monitoring and evaluation.
Methods/design: For this research program, mixed methods are used in all the five sub-studies. First, problem specification through literature research and consultation of stakeholders, experts, health promotion specialists, parents and policy makers will be carried out. Based on this information, models, theoretical frameworks and practical instruments will be developed, tested and evaluated in the communities that implement the integrated approach to prevent overweight in children. Knowledge obtained from these studies and insights from experts and stakeholders will be combined to create an evaluation framework to evaluate the integrated approach at central, local and individual levels that will be applicable to daily practice.
Discussion: This innovative research program stimulates sub-studies to collaborate with local stakeholders and to share and integrate their knowledge, methodology and results. Therefore, the output of this program (both knowledge and practical tools) will be matched and form building blocks of a blueprint for a local evidence- and practice-based integrated approach towards prevention of overweight in children. The output will then support various communities to further optimize the implementation and subsequently the effects of this approach.
Keywords: Community; Evaluation framework; Implementation; Integrated approach; Overweight; Parenting; Political support; Social marketing.