"COMPACT: Childhood Obesity Modeling for Prevention and Community Transformation"
Childhood obesity prevention interventions have long focused on intervention effectiveness. While we have strong empirical evidence about what works at a programmatic level, we know from our experience that we cannot drop “ready-made” interventions into communities – especially those in the highest need – and expect them to be successful. Generating evidence-based strategies was an important first step for the field; however, in order to truly address the global obesity epidemic we need a paradigm shift in our research to help close the well-established research-to-practice gap.
The COMPACT Project, which stands for Childhood Obesity Modeling for Prevention and Community Transformation, integrates the fields of implementation science and systems science, applying innovative, cross-cutting scientific methods and evaluation tools to obesity prevention. In this Friedman Speaker Series talk, Dr. Christina Economos will discuss the evolution of her work, and tell the story of why and how, after more than two decades of successful work in obesity prevention at the local, state, and national levels, she is taking a new approach to the persistent, complex, and insidious problem of childhood obesity.
Christina Economos, PhD, is a Professor, the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition, and Chair of the Division of Nutrition Interventions, Communication, & Behavior Change at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Medical School at Tufts University. She is also the co-Founder and Director of ChildObesity180, a unique organization that brings together leaders from diverse disciplines to generate urgency, and find solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic. ChildObesity180 merges the best in nutrition and public health research and practice with the expertise and experience of business, government, and nonprofit leaders. When these perspectives come together, a creative tension exists that balances the academic focus on discovering what works and why, with the entrepreneurial perspective that quick action is needed.
As the principal investigator of large-scale research studies, Dr. Economos’ has generated over $50 million in funding, with a goal is to inspire behavior, policy, and environmental change to reduce obesity and improve the health of America’s children. She has authored more than 160 scientific publications, and regularly speaks at scientific and professional meetings and conferences. At ChildObesity180 she develops, implements, evaluates, and scales high-impact obesity prevention initiatives, that to date have reached over 11 million children in all 50 states. She led the Shape Up Somerville study demonstrating that it is possible to reduce excess weight gain in children through multiple leverage points within an entire community. Dr. Economos’ Live Well study was a preventive intervention developed with active input from community partners to moderate or reduce weight gain among new immigrant women and their children. In partnership with Save the Children, she led the CHANGE study, which was designed to improve physical activity and nutrition behaviors in rural communities.
Dr. Economos is involved in national obesity and public health activities and has served on four National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees including the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions and the Committee on an Evidence Framework for Obesity Prevention Decision-Making. In addition, she served on the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health. She has been featured in numerous media outlets including CNN, NBC Nightly News, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. Dr. Economos received a Bachelor of Science from Boston University, a Master of Science in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University and a Doctorate in Nutritional Biochemistry from Tufts University