Programs coming to Danville to help combat childhood obesity

DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - The Washington, D.C. based non-profit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute has awarded the University of Virginia a $1.9 million grant to study the effectiveness of two programs.

Researchers will study the programs by implementing them in Danville, though the programs will serve people in Pittsylvania County and in Caswell County, North Carolina as well.

On Wednesday, some of those who will be involved in the study were at the Danville Parks and Recreation Department to discuss the effort.

One of the programs, called iChoose, has been implemented in Danville before and was very successful.

But, when funding ran out at the end of 2015, the program was discontinued.

The study will last three years and according to the researchers, 174 families are expected to participate.

Specifically, researchers will look at the program's effectiveness with children 8-12 years old, their families' eating and exercise habits and how well the programs work with the local community.

"Ultimately, the goal is the same for both programs. The goal is to improve the weight status of children. Really, one of the bigger questions we're trying to answer is which one of these two programs is the best fit for the local systems within the Dan River Region," said UVA professor and study co-lead investigator Dr. Jamie Zoellner.

A business and programmatic review still has to be completed by PCORI staff before the grant money is officially awarded and researchers can begin to use it.

If all goes according to plan, Zoellner expects the programs to begin in June.

Anyone interested in participating in the programs can contact Zoellner at jz9q@virginia.edu or contact the Danville Parks and Recreation Department at 434-799-5200.