Thousands of families are involved with long term studies at the Institute to answer one of the most fundamental questions - what does it really take for a child to grow up strong, healthy and happy?
The data that we have gathered over many years is now helping us to look at important issues ranging from the real impact of the obesity epidemic to the rise in youth depression and whether children outgrow difficulties with language.
We are looking at childhood obesity, an increasing health problem in childhood that can continue to cause problems into adulthood.
Over the past 10 years, childhood obesity has become a public health concern in Palestine. The childhood obesity epidemic demands action, but action requires an evidence base that does not currently exist.
The Institute has responded to this public health crisis by conducting research that will contribute to the evidence base for the development of successful childhood obesity prevention programs. Successful childhood obesity prevention requires making changes at multiple levels of society, from the family unit to the community at large. Interventions must provide support to individuals, families, schools, health care providers, and communities in making changes that will foster healthier eating and activity patterns among children and adolescents. These changes will reduce the risk of childhood obesity and promote healthy, age-appropriate growth and development. The Institute’s focus on childhood obesity research will draw on existing University strengths, provide a focus for building new collaborations, and attract resources and national recognition.
Physical Activity in Palestinian Schoolchildren (PAPS)
PAPS is a longitudinal research study which aims to track levels of physical activity across the primary-secondary transition and investigate key predictors of physical activity behavior. The study utilizes a broad theoretical framework which encompasses psychological, social and environmental influences. Based on the findings, recommendations will be made` for the development of school-based interventions to promote active lifestyles among early adolescents.
Over 500 schoolchildren from eight school clusters in the West Bank will participate in this study. Data will be collected by questionnaire survey undertaking during the Autumn Term. Fieldwork will commence in 2010 among grade 7 and eight and five waves of data collection is planned. Qualitative interviews will also be undertaken with a subgroup of pupils in grade 7.