Improving community readiness among Iranian local communities to prevent childhood obesity
BACKGROUND: Community Readiness Intervention for Tackling Childhood Obesity (CRITCO) is a theory-based intervention being developed to improve the readiness of an Iranian urban population to engage in childhood obesity prevention programs. This study aimed to explore changes in readiness of intervention and control local communities from diverse socio-economic areas of Tehran. METHODS: This study was a seven-month quasi-experimental intervention implemented in four intervention communities and compared with four controls. Aligned strategies and action plans were developed around the six dimensions of community readiness. The Food and Nutrition Committee was established in each intervention community to make collaborative efforts among different sectors and assess the fidelity of the intervention. The pre-and post- readiness change was explored through interviews with 46 community key informants. RESULTS: The total readiness of intervention sites increased by 0.48 units (p < 0.001) and shifted to the next higher level, from preplanning to the preparation stage. At the same time, the readiness of control communities decreased by 0.39 units (p < 0.001), although their readiness stage remained unchanged, reflecting the fourth stage. Also, a sex-dependent CR change was observed, such that the girls’ schools showed a more remarkable improvement in interventions and less decline in controls. The readiness stages of interventions significantly improved for four dimensions related to community efforts, knowledge of the efforts, knowledge of childhood obesity issue, and leadership. Furthermore, the readiness of control communities significantly decreased on three of six dimensions related to community effort, knowledge of efforts, and resources. CONCLUSIONS: The CRITCO successfully improved the readiness of intervention sites for addressing childhood obesity. It is hoped that the present study can be a spark for developing readiness-based childhood obesity prevention programs in Middle Eastern and other developing countries. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The CRITCO intervention was registered at Iran Registry for Clinical Trials ( http://irct.ir ; IRCT20191006044997N1) on 11/11/2019.
Niknam, M., Omidvar, N., Eini-Zinab, H., Kalantari, N., Olazadeh, K., & Amiri, P. (2023). Improving community readiness among Iranian local communities to prevent childhood obesity. BMC Public Health, 23(1), 344. doi:10.1186/s12889-023-15163-3