Community-based Participatory Research to Address Childhood Obesity: Experiences from Alexander First Nation in Canada

An Excerpt

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an evidence-based approach that can guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of childhood obesity prevention initiatives at the community level. The goal of this paper is to describe the CBPR process and resulting experiences from a childhood obesity prevention study in Alexander First Nation, Alberta, Canada. University-based researchers and an Elder from the Alexander First Nation cocreated the study aims and objectives. A research steering committee (including community members, professionals who worked in the community, Elders, and university researchers and trainees) and a research agreement were established to guide research and dissemination activities.From 2006 on, the CBPR partnership between communitybased stakeholders and university-based researchers facilitated: (1) capacity building, which promoted community protection, increased research capacity, and created an opportunity for long-term engagement; (2) knowledge transfer and exchange, which facilitated dissemination within the community, improved access to culturally bound knowledge, and created external opportunities to positively portray the community and share experiences; (3) novel research findings; and (4) unexpected consequences including new projects. Our experiences highlight the advantages of CBPR and are relevant for stakeholders(e.g., community members, health professionals, and researchers) considering a community-based solution for community-based health challenges such as preventing childhood obesity.

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