Sallis, J.F., Cutter, C.L., Lou, D., Spoon, C., Wilson, A.L., Ding, D., et al. (2014). Active Living Research: Creating and Using Evidence to Support Childhood Obesity Prevention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46(2), 195-207.
The second phase of Active Living Research (ALR-2, 2007–2012) focused on advancing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)’s goal of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic. The mission was to stimulate and support research to identify environmental factors and policies that influence physical activity for children and families to inform effective childhood obesity prevention strategies, with an emphasis on the lower-income and racial/ethnic communities with highest childhood obesity prevalence. The present report describes ALR activities undertaken to accomplish three goals.
The first goal—to build an evidence base—was furthered by funding 230 competitive grants to identify and evaluate promising environment and policy changes. More than 300 publications have been produced so far. The second goal—to build an interdisciplinary and diverse field of investigators—was supported through annual conferences and linked journal supplements, academic outreach to multiple disciplines, and grants targeting young investigators and those representing groups historically disadvantaged or underrepresented in RWJF-funded research. The third goal—to use research to inform policy and practice—was advanced through research briefs; webinars; research translation grants supporting ALR grantees to design communications tailored to decision-maker audiences; active engagement of policymakers and other stakeholders in ALR program meetings and annual conferences; ALR presentations at policy-related meetings; and broad outreach through a widely used website, e-mailed newsletters, and social media. ALR-2 findings and products have contributed to a rapid increase in the evidence base and field of active living research, as documented by an independent program evaluation.