B'More healthy communities for kids: Design of a multi-level intervention for obesity prevention for low-income African American children

Joel Gittelsohn, Elizabeth Anderson Steeves, Yeeli Mui, Anna Y. Kharmats, Laura C. Hopkins, Donna Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: Childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have reached epidemic proportions, and an urgent need remains to identify evidence-based strategies for prevention and treatment. Multi-level, multi-component interventions are needed due to the multi-factorial nature of obesity, and its proven links to both the social and built environment. However, there are huge gaps in the literature related to doing these kinds of interventions among low-income, urban, minority groups.

Methods: The B'More Healthy Communities for Kids (BHCK) intervention is a multi-level, multi-component intervention, targeting low-income African American youth ages 10-14 and their families in Baltimore, Maryland. This intervention prevents childhood obesity by working at multiple levels of the food and social environments to increase access to, demand for, and consumption of healthier foods. BHCK works to create systems-level change by partnering with city policy-makers, multiple levels of the food environment (wholesalers, corner stores, carryout restaurants), and the social environment (peers and families). In addition, extensive evaluation will be conducted at each level of the intervention to assess intervention effectiveness via both process and impact measures.

Discussion: This project is novel in multiple ways, including: the inclusion of stakeholders at multiple levels (policy, institutional, and at multiple levels of the food system); that it uses novel computational modeling methodologies to engage policy makers and guide informed decisions of intervention effectiveness; it emphasizes both the built environment (intervening with food sources) and the social environment (intervening with families and peers). The design of the intervention and the evaluation plan of the BHCK project are documented here.

Trial registration: NCT02181010 (July 2, 2014).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number942
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 11 2014


  • Children
  • Multi-level interventions
  • Obesity
  • Policy
  • Study design
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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