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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about CHL

Q. What is the desired end result or goal of this program?
A. The goal of CHL is to build a social, cultural, political, economic, and physical environment in the Pacific Region that supports active play and eating healthy food, in order to promote health.

Q. Who is funding this program and how much money is being invested?
A. The grant is awarded through US Department of Agriculture’s “Agriculture and Food Research Initiative” (AFRI) competitive grant program, which was established under the 2008 Farm Bill.  AFRI is administered through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which is a multi-function integrated program that includes research, education and extension.  The 5-year investment totals $24,777,794.

Q. How is the money being used?
A. In the first year, the money is being used to evaluate needs and take inventory of successful programs currently underway to prevent child obesity, especially in the Pacific Region: Alaska, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Guam, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, and Palau.  Funding is also being used to further develop and provide degree-training of 22 professionals in those same jurisdictions.  These trainees will work with the CHL program, and will be an important part of building capacity, extending reach, and sustaining child obesity prevention work in the region. Funding will also be used to develop and test a community-based intervention program designed to shift the food and physical activity environment to prevent child obesity. Efforts to share successful elements of the intervention program with other communities and to support policy changes to sustain them will also be funded by the CHL program.

Q. What will families get out of participating in this program?
A. Families with children ages 2-5 years old in selected Head Starts, preschools or daycares may be asked to participate in measurements of their child’s food consumption, types and levels of physical activity, and health condition over a 24-month period of implementation and evaluation of the community based action program.  These families will receive gift card incentives for participation.  Other families in those selected communities will also benefit from the changes being tested in the environment.  By the end of the program, we will share successful elements broadly to interested families from any community, by website, and in community and scientific presentations, so that proven actions can be implemented by others.

Q. What will a community get out of participating in this program?
A. Communities that participate will be involved in making changes in the food and physical activity environments of their community, so that children engage in more active play and have healthier eating patterns.  In the end, communities have an opportunity to be healthier.

Q. Some of this work is an intervention study – what about areas that are not getting the intervention – is there a way they can utilize information/content developed by this study?
A.  Communities not selected for the 24-month community-based action testing period of study will benefit from the assessment and program inventory information.  These communities will be selected as comparison communities for the community-based test of the CHL action program.  Families of selected children in comparison communities will also participate in measurements of their child’s food, physical activity, and health condition over the 24 months and will receive the same incentives.  Comparison communities are equally important to evaluate an intervention.  Successful components of the community-based action test will be provided to the comparison communities at the completion of the testing and analysis of the community-based actions so that they can then create their own changes based on successful activities.

Q. There are a number of other federal, state and non-profit studies and programs working on obesity in children-  how is this project different or similar?
A.  The CHL program aims to support what’s working in other programs and in communities so that children eat healthfully and play actively.  The program aims to support those programs and practices with social, cultural, physical, economic and political encouragement or change to do more, and to assure sustainability from one group of children to the next.

Q. How will CHL be collaborating with existing programs?
A.  CHL will be using several meetings and survey practices to identify and collaborate with interested existing programs.  Existing programs can contact Jim Hollyer (hollyer@hawaii.edu) with information about their program and how they would like to collaborate with CHL.

Q. Why are only 2-5 year old children addressed in this program, why not birth–18 years old?
A.  It is a USDA grant requirement to focus on children within the 2-8 year old age range.  However, the environmental emphasis of this program will result in benefit to children of other ages.

Q. What is the difference/similarity between this program’s outreach and university’s Extension programs?
A.  CHL outreach provides communication to communities in an integrated approach that may include existing Extension programs, along with degree-seeking training and testing of new community-based intervention strategies.  The goal of CHL is to support and/or modify existing programs and policies in the community/neighborhood environment to enhance and sustain healthy eating and active play of young children.

Q.  Who is responsible for the program at each site and how are decisions made?
A.  For this funding opportunity, the USDA requires one overall Principal Investigator/Program Director at one institution to receive and take responsibility for the grant.  Dr. Rachel Novotny is the Principal Investigator and Program Director responsible to the USDA for the CHL program.  Major program decisions are made by the CHL Program Steering Committee (PSC), which is composed of Lead Site Co-Investigators from American Samoa Community College (Dr. Don Vargo), Northern Marianas College (Dr. Jang Kim), University of Alaska at Fairbanks (Dr. Bret Luick), the University of Guam (Dr. Rachael Leon Guerrero) and the University of Hawaii at Manoa (Dr. Rachel Novotny will represent Hawaii and Dr. Jonathan Deenik will represent the Freely Associated States of Micronesia [Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau]) and chaired by Dr. Novotny.

Q.  How are the funds managed for among the various institutions receiving support from the grant?
A.  The University of Hawaii at Manoa is the grant recipient and is responsible to the USDA for the award.  The American Samoa Community College, Northern Marianas College, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, and the University of Guam are each awarded subcontracts from the University of Hawaii at Manoa for the work occurring at those sites.  Funding allocated for work with other organizations are managed from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, including work at the College of Micronesia, Kapiolani Community College, and Windward Community College.