West Virginia Prevention Research Center Receives $1.5 Million

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently awarded the West Virginia Prevention Research Center at West Virginia University a $1.5 million grant to evaluate childhood obesity in West Virginia.

The goal of this two-year project is to assess the impact of the 2005 West Virginia Healthy Lifestyle Bill and to use these findings to update or modify the state policy.

“We know there’s a childhood obesity problem,” said Geri Dino, Ph.D., director of the Prevention Research Center and co-director of the evaluation project.  “We can only improve the health of West Virginia with programs and policies that are solidly grounded in science and are relevant and feasible to communities.”

The evaluation will include collaborating with schools throughout the state to provide healthy lifestyle resources to school personnel through the CARDIAC Project.   CARDIAC, or Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities, assesses health risks in school children and provides education and intervention services for families.  The health risk assessment data will be used to help measure the success of the Healthy Lifestyle initiatives.  

“West Virginia has researchers, public health practitioners, and policy makers, who want to work together to find cost-effective solutions to the burden of obesity,” said Dino.

The following agencies will also work with the Prevention Research Center on this evaluation project:  WVU Health Research Center; West Virginia Bureau for Public Health Office of Healthy Lifestyles; and West Virginia Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools.

“The decade-long effective partnership between state government, secondary and higher education, the private sector and the Benedum Foundation, was a positive influence in the selection of West Virginia by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation," said Bill Neal, M.D., pediatric cardiologist at WVU and director of the CARDIAC Project. “This study will have national health policy implications.”

The West Virginia Prevention Research Center is one of 33 Prevention Research Centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  These Centers are housed in universities across the country and share a focus on public health in community settings. 

For more information about the West Virginia Prevention Research Center, visit http://prc.hsc.wvu.edu/ or call (304) 293-8612.

- WVU -

For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
dc: 10-25-07

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