Catalyzing Communities to Reverse the Trend of Childhood Obesity

Christina Economos

Christina Economos, PhD

Professor and New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Medical School at Tufts University; Co-Founder and Director of ChildObesity180


Abstract

Dr. Economos will give an overview of the state of childhood obesity and interventions being developed to tackle this growing epidemic. The obesity rate has tripled in children and most efforts addressing this issue are fragmented or designed for small scale implementation. Dr. Economos will speak on her obesity interventions to date targeted at the community level with ability to scale up and reach children across the country. She will also focus on lifting up effective strategies and identifying new methodological approaches to increase impact, highlighting the potential of a whole community, systems-based approach to childhood obesity prevention. Furthermore, Dr. Economos will illustrate how to translate a community-based approach to a national scale through her work as Director and Co-Founder of ChildObesity180.
Believing that the complex issue of childhood obesity demands a fresh approach, the founders of ChildObesity180 brought together a cross-sector group of leaders to identify innovative and integrated solutions with the potential to address childhood obesity on a national scale. Housed at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, ChildObesity180 merges the best in nutrition and public health research and practice with expertise from business, government, and nonprofit leaders. Since 2009, ChildObesity180 has developed, implemented, evaluated, and scaled high-impact obesity prevention initiatives that have reached more than 9.3 million children nationwide.

Presenter Bio

Christina Economos, PhD, is a Professor and the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Medical School at Tufts University. She is also the co-Founder and Director of ChildObesity180, a unique organization that brings together leaders from diverse disciplines to generate urgency, and find solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic. ChildObesity180 merges the best in nutrition and public health research and practice with the expertise and experience of business, government, and nonprofit leaders. When these perspectives come together, a creative tension exists that balances the academic focus on discovering what works and why, with the entrepreneurial perspective that quick action is needed.

As the principal investigator of large-scale research studies, Dr. Economos’ goal is to inspire behavior, policy, and environmental change to reduce obesity and improve the health of America’s children. She has authored more than 120 scientific publications. At ChildObesity180 she develops, implements, evaluates, and scales high-impact obesity prevention initiatives. She led the Shape Up Somerville study demonstrating that it is possible to reduce excess weight gain in children through multiple leverage points within an entire community. Dr. Economos’ Live Well study was a preventive intervention developed with active input from community partners to moderate or reduce weight gain among new immigrant women and their children. In partnership with Save the Children, she led the CHANGE study, which was designed to improve physical activity and nutrition behaviors in rural communities.

Dr. Economos is involved in national obesity and public health activities and has served on four Institute of Medicine committees including the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions and the Committee on an Evidence Framework for Obesity Prevention Decision-Making. In addition, she serves on the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health. Dr. Economos received a Bachelor of Science from Boston University, a Master of Science in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University and a doctorate in Nutritional Biochemistry from Tufts University.