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A new web-based training will give health practitioners, community members and public health professionals access to current and effective strategies to prevent childhood obesity free of charge.

The Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT) developed the training as the final installment in a series of web-based trainings available to public health practitioners and community members. The other trainings address Nutrition and Health, Physical Activity and Health, and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health.

“We are thrilled to offer this online training series as an engaging, interactive way for public health practitioners to keep current on nutrition and physical activity related topics,” said Janice Sommers, project director for the Center TRT.

“In these times of budget, travel and time constraints, web-based training offers a convenient and low-cost option for continuing education,” said Sommers. “We extend thanks to the CDC for their support and to all of our partners who played an important role in developing and testing this module.”

The Center TRT is devoted to bridging the gap between research and public health practice with an emphasis on nutrition, physical activity, and the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease risk factors and obesity. Center TRT staff and partners evaluate all the research presented in the trainings to be sure the information and recommendations presented are based in the best available scientific evidence.

The first two modules, Nutrition and Health and Physical Activity and Health (both posted in June 2008) cover the underlying rationale for national recommendations around nutrition and physical activity. These trainings lay the foundation for the more specific modules addressing heart disease and childhood obesity. These modules provide information and ideas for translating lifestyle behavior recommendations into public health practice.

More than 300 people have completed the web-based trainings since 2008. Each training module takes about 3 hours to complete, but can be paused and restarted to accommodate trainees’ schedules. Each module provides an overview of the topic, presentation of the evidence-base for recommendations, interactive activities, case studies/examples, required readings and links to additional resources. Users can print a certificate documenting their completion of the module, post-test and evaluation.

Participants have provided positive comments after completing the training.

“I am a physician and am very interested in nutrition for my patients,” said an internist in Loma Linda, CA. “I am already doing your web-based education program, which I must say is excellent as well as simple to understand.”

Alice Ammerman, HPDP Director and principal investigator of the study, said she was particularly pleased with the timing of the release of the childhood obesity prevention module.

“This topic is so important right now,” Ammerman said. “I think public health practitioners will be eager to use this training.”

The Center TRT is based in the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of 35 Prevention Research Centers supported by CDC. It was funded in October 2004 by two CDC programs: Well Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Woman Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN program) and the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases (Obesity Prevention program).

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