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Evaluation Overview for the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (MA-CORD) Project



The Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (MA-CORD) project is a 2-year, multilevel, multisector community intervention to prevent and control obesity among children 2-12 years of age from two predominantly low-income communities in Massachusetts. MA-CORD includes evidence-based interventions in multiple sectors, including community health centers, early care and education centers, schools, afterschool programs, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the broader community. Currently, implementation of MA-CORD is complete and the final year of data collection is in progress. Here, the MA-CORD evaluation plan is described and baseline data are presented.


The impact of MA-CORD on children's BMI, lifestyle behaviors, obesity-related care, and quality of life will be assessed using sector-specific, pre/post, time-series, and quasi-experimental designs. Change in the primary outcomes will be compared for intervention and comparison communities. Additionally, change in mean BMI and obesity prevalence in intervention school districts will be compared to similar districts throughout the state.


At baseline in 2012, approximately 16% of preschool-aged and 25% of school-aged children were obese. Moreover, 15-40% of children consumed no vegetables on the previous day, 25-75% drank a sugar-sweetened beverage on the previous day, up to 87% had insufficient physical activity, 50-75% had a television in the room where they slept, and 50-80% obtained insufficient sleep.


There is ample room for improvement in BMI and health behaviors in children in MA-CORD communities. If successful, MA-CORD may serve as a model for multilevel, multisector approaches to childhood obesity prevention and control.

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