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Participating Families

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The Healthy Communities Study (HCS) is a large study that looks at how communities help children be healthy. The study will visit 120 communities and about 5,000 families with children in Kindergarten through 8th (K-8) grade.

How Can My Family Take Part In The Study?

The study recruits elementary and middle schools in each of the selected study communities. Families with children in K-8 grades in these schools are invited to take part in the study.

Schools send information about the study home for parents/caregivers to read. Parents/caregivers that might be interested in the study fill out a Study Interest Form and return it to their child’s school. The study uses the interest forms to select families (like a lottery). Selected families are then called to explain the study, make sure the family is eligible, and ask if the parent/caregiver(s) and child want to be in the study.

What Happens After My Family Agrees To Take Part In The Study?

After a family agrees to take part in the study, a home visit is arranged for a day and time that works best for the family. Both the child and the adult in the home who knows the most about the child’s daily routine should be at home for the visit.

What Happens During The Home Visit And How Long Will The Visit Take?

Someone from the study team visits the family in their home to:

  • Ask questions about the foods the child eats, the physical activities the child does, and general questions about the family and household.
  • Measure the child’s height, weight and waist. When possible, we also measure the height and weight of the parents.
  • Ask the adult for permission to get a copy of the child’s medical records so we can look at the child’s health history.

The study also picks a few families to ask for more information. For these families, the home visit has everything listed above, and someone from the study team also:

  • Asks more detailed questions about the foods the child eats and the physical activities the child does.
  • Gives the child an activity monitor to wear for one week. An activity monitor is a small counting device (like a pedometer) that is worn at the waist, over clothing, and records when the child is active; it does not record any other information about the child.
  • Visits the family a second time, 8 to 10 days later, to pick up the activity monitor, and ask a few more questions. The child’s height, weight and waist may also be measured again during this second visit.

For families that are visited one time, the home visit lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

For families visited two times, the first visit takes about 1 hour and 35 minutes, and the second visit takes about 50 minutes.

Is There A Cost Or Risk For Being In The Study?

There is no cost or risk for being in this study. All information collected is kept private. None of the information from the interview has the family’s name on it. The family can choose to answer only those questions that they want to. And the family can stop being in the study at any time.

Does The Family Get Anything For Participating?

To thank each family for taking part in the study, the adult and child receive gifts worth up to $30 after the home visit. For families who have two home visits, an additional gift is given to thank them for their time.

What Are The Benefits Of Being In The Study?

Families that participate in the study can be proud of helping to improve children’s health! The study results can be used to help children be healthy in each community and across the country. We will also leave each family with some helpful information on healthy eating and being active. To read these useful tips, visit our Tips and Resources for Healthy Families page.

Last Updated April 2014

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