Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) February 17, 2015
The prevalence of obesity remains high among America’s youngest children, especially within minority populations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in five children in the United States are obese, putting them at greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, or suffering from obesity and other negative health outcomes as adults.
Abt Associates, along with a multidisciplinary team of research partners, is joining the fight to help reduce childhood obesity in Los Angeles. Through a recently awarded $3 million contract with First 5 LA, Abt and its team will closely examine strategies adopted by organizations within Los Angeles County to help address childhood obesity among young children. This detailed evaluation will allow First 5 LA’s Reducing Early Childhood Obesity (RECO) initiative to better understand what’s working and what isn’t within the county to help influence rates of childhood obesity.
“We know that the health and economic costs of childhood obesity in America are staggering, particularly among diverse populations,” said Mary Joel Holin, Abt Associates division vice president for Social and Economic Policy. “That’s why we’re pleased to lead this important evaluation of childhood obesity reduction strategies and best practices.”
Los Angeles is no exception to the obesity challenges facing the nation. Between 2003 and 2009, obesity rates for 3- and 4-year old children in Los Angeles increased from 17 to 22 percent. With a large and diverse population, Los Angeles County faces challenges in providing relevant, effective, and high quality obesity reduction services to all in need.
First 5 LA was created in 1998 to invest and distribute Los Angeles County’s portion of tax funds collected as part of California’s tobacco tax. Since its inception, First 5 LA has focused exclusively on children from the prenatal period to age five, and has invested over $1 billion in programs to help these children achieve a healthy start in life. The RECO initiative provides $41.2 million in funding over four years to address childhood obesity in Los Angeles County. Between 2013 and 2014, over $10 million was invested in RECO efforts.
Abt Associates will be joined by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, Ms. Hayley Roper-Fingerhut, researchers at The Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research and Evaluation, and Special Services for Groups.
The Abt Associates team will be led by Maria Boyle (Project Director) and Dr. Michael López (Principal Investigator).
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries. http://www.abtassociates.com