Request For Information: Studying Community Programs to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Notice Number: NOT-HL-09-122

Key Dates
Release Date: March 25, 2009

Issued by
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), (


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in collaboration with other partners, is planning to conduct an evaluation study of communities that will examine outcomes associated with community programs to reduce childhood obesity through policy, environmental, behavioral, and educational activities addressing energy balance.  The goal is to examine effects of childhood obesity programs by using a natural experiment al design.  Results will be disseminated to inform national and local policy for reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity.

The NHLBI plans to issue a Broad Agency Announcement to establish this evaluation study, with one five-year contract for a Research Coordinating Center anticipated.   Accordingly, the NHLBI is soliciting input from the scientific community, national organizations that address childhood obesity, and the public on scientific issues to address, as well as on information about relevant existing community programs.

Communities will be examined to assess a variety of hypothesized factors addressed by community programs to improve diet and physical activity with the aim of reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity.  The study will employ common metrics for evaluation across programs, obtain key measures across communities, and conduct analyses to examine associations between characteristics of community programs and targeted outcomes of those programs, such as community environments, family behavior, children’s diet and physical activity behaviors, and children’s body mass index.  The project will provide a platform for several partners to collaborate on program evaluations.  One award is planned to a Research Coordinating Center, which will work with the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) to design and implement the research (see for information about NCCOR).


Over the past four decades, obesity rates have increased substantially among U.S. youth.   Factors believed to have contributed to the increase are those that alter energy balance, including greater consumption of food and beverages with higher calories, and less physical activity during school along with more sedentary lifestyles out of school.  Overweight and obese children are at higher risk of serious illnesses during childhood and adulthood, including heart disease, stroke, asthma, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and certain types of cancer.  A 2008 AHA statement on Population-Based Prevention of Obesity recommends “population-based strategies that improve social and physical environmental contexts for healthful eating and physical activity.”  Community programs employing these concepts are being implemented across the nation, including programs supported by the NCCOR partners. This research project will conduct cross-program evaluations, using a natural experimental design, to identify factors associated with community program success, using common metrics and approaches. 

Information Requested

  1. Describe the types of research study designs and statistical analytic approaches that would be useful for evaluating community programs to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity, including use of comparison communities.
  1. Define how “community” would be defined for such a research project. 
  1. Indicate at what levels measurements should occur (e.g., child, family, school, community organization, entire community) and what factors should be measured at each level that are relevant to childhood obesity program implementation or success.
  1. List what data collection instruments exist to measure relevant factors at various levels.  If possible, please cite specific instruments and their sources.
  1. Identify specific existing community programs that address childhood obesity (please provide program name if known), and what type of approaches these programs use (e.g., education, policy, etc).
  1. List the national or local organizations that should be included or have input into this research activity.
  1. Describe any other information you feel would be helpful in planning this study.


Responses in any of the areas are welcome; respondents should not feel compelled to address all items.  Please limit your responses to no more than one page per question.

Responses should be identified with this Notice identifier (NOT-HL-09-122) and are due by April 10, 2009.

This Request for Information (RFI) is covered under the Privacy Act System of Records 09-25-0200, “Clinical Epidemiology and Biometric Studies of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), HHS/NIH/OD.” Attached is a copy. This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Government.  The Government does not intend to award a grant or contract on the basis of the responses to this RFI nor does otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information.  Acknowledgement of receipt of responses will not be made, nor will respondents be notified of the Government’s evaluation of the information received.  No basis for claims against the Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or the Government’s use of such information as either part of our evaluation process or in developing specifications for any subsequent announcement.  Responses will be held in a confidential manner.  Any proprietary information should be so marked.


To respond, please send a letter, fax or e-mail to the following address:

Kristiane E. Cooper, Contracting Officer
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Dr. Rm., 6124, MSC 7902
Bethesda, MD 20892-7902
Phone: 301-435-0345
Fax: 301-480-3430

We look forward to your input and hope you will share this document with your colleagues.

Thank you very much for your help.

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