A National Collaborative for Building the Field of Childhood Obesity Research

Am J Prev Med. 2018 Mar;54(3):453-464. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.12.007.


Rising rates of childhood obesity over the past 2 decades have spurred a number of public- and private-sector initiatives aimed at halting or even reversing this trend. Recognizing common interests in this issue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIH, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation began conversations about creating a formal collaboration aimed at accelerating efforts to address childhood obesity by coordinating research agendas and providing support for evidence-building activities. The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) was launched in February 2009, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture joined in 2010. Using the model provided by other previously successful collaborations, such as the Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative, NCCOR has emphasized several principles suggested by Petrovich as key elements for successful partnerships: (1) delineate a common purpose by identifying key knowledge gaps in the field; (2) create a shared identity around that common purpose; (3) develop structures for democratic and respectful collaboration so as to strategically coordinate efforts for maximum national impact; (4) identify effective leaders capable of articulating challenges in the field and inspiring a commitment of minds and the resolve to address identified needs; (5) facilitate continuous knowledge exchange and synthesis to keep the field informed; and (6) support assessment of progress and feedback loops for ensuring continual progress. This paper examines how NCCOR has used these principles to help build the field of research, evaluation, and surveillance for childhood obesity prevention and management.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Health Information Exchange*
  • Humans
  • Intersectoral Collaboration*
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control*
  • United States / epidemiology