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The childhood obesity epidemic is a public-health crisis. There is great need for interventions to reduce weight or risk for excess weight gain, and to foster healthy lifestyles. Through a collaborative partnership with the Ozark Wellness Network (OWN), Cox Health Care, Washington and Stanford Universities, Hollister Schools, Forsyth Schools, YMCA, and Taney County Health Department, we are exploring the feasibility of StayingFit, an interactive, online, evidence-based early intervention and prevention program, designed to promote childhood weight loss and weight maintenance for middle school students in Taney County, MO. In collaboration with Stanford University, we have previously demonstrated the efficacy of internet-based interventions for the prevention of excess weight gain in overweight adolescents, eating disorder behaviors (e.g., binge eating) and attitudes (e.g., weight and shape concerns; negative attitudes), as well as behavioral improvements (e.g., Increased fruit and vegetable intake). Funded by the Skaggs Foundation, this project focuses on creating sustainable partnerships with community organizations through OWN it that will enhance the efficacy of the intervention, and widen its impact. The goals of the project are to: 1) promote weight loss or weight maintenance, and healthy eating and activity in middle school students, 2) engage parents/caregivers in engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors, and 3) build strong community partnerships that will ensure the program sustainability.

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