NCCOR: New Tools for Obesity Researchers and Practitioners
April’s edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine includes an article on new tools for obesity researchers and practitioners from NCCOR (the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity research). NCCOR is a collaboration among the CDC, NIH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and USDA.
The Measures Registry and the Catalogue of Surveillance Systems are freely-available web resources intended to improve the productivity of researchers and the science of childhood obesity research overall. The Measures Registry is a compilation of over 800 measures of diet and physical activity at individual and environmental levels; for example, questionnaires, instruments, diaries, and logs. The Catalogue of Surveillance Systems is a searchable collection of almost 90 publicly available data resources related to obesity research.
Both tools were launched in 2011 and already appear to be popular, with over 500,000 hits since launch, and more than 1000 unique visitors per month. The article’s authors note that an unanticipated (but welcome) outcome has been the especially positive response from students and junior investigators. Early-stage investigators are often eager for freely available data to analyze, which is easy to locate using the Catalogue.
From one newly-minted PhD: “Too bad the Catalogue wasn’t designed when I was in graduate school — I would’ve graduated a year earlier! This tool is exactly what I needed when I was designing my dissertation. I spent a countless amount of time and energy sifting through data sources, in a very haphazard manner, because I had no organized way of identifying the data that I needed for my particular study. Finding the right data source is a process that can take weeks, if not months; with the Catalogue, it can be completed in a day or two.”