Healthy Eating and Activity Across the Lifespan (HEAL): A call to action to integrate research, clinical practice, policy, and community resources to address weight-related health disparities

Jerica M Berge, Margaret Adamek, Caitlin E Caspi, Katie Loth, Amy Shanafelt, Steven D Stovitz, Amanda Trofholz, Katherine Y. Grannon, Susie Nanney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite intense nationwide efforts to improve healthy eating and physical activity across the lifespan, progress has plateaued. Moreover, health inequities remain. Frameworks that integrate research, clinical practice, policy, and community resources to address weight-related behaviors are needed. Implementation and evaluation of integration efforts also remain a challenge. The purpose of this paper is to: (1) Describe the planning and development process of an integrator entity, HEAL (Healthy Eating and Activity across the Lifespan); (2) present outcomes of the HEAL development process including the HEAL vision, mission, and values statements; (3) define the planned integrator functions of HEAL; and (4) describe the ongoing evaluation of the integration process. HEAL team members used a theoretically-driven, evidence-based, systemic, twelve-month planning process to guide the development of HEAL and to lay the foundation for short- and long-term integration initiatives. Key development activities included a review of the literature and case studies, identifying guiding principles and infrastructure needs, conducting stakeholder/key informant interviews, and continuous capacity building among team members. Outcomes/deliverables of the first year of HEAL included a mission, vision, and values statements; definitions of integration and integrator functions and roles; a set of long-range plans; and an integration evaluation plan. Application of the HEAL integration model is currently underway through community solicited initiatives. Overall, HEAL aims to lead real world integrative work that coalesce across research, clinical practice, and policy with community resources to inspire a culture of health equity aimed at improving healthy eating and physical activity across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-203
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive medicine
Volume101
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Health equity
  • Integration
  • Obesity
  • Population health
  • Systems-level change

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