The Childhood Obesity Challenge is a competition open to individuals or teams from any sector that has been launched by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Challenge aims to promote creative and innovative solutions to childhood obesity outside the box of scientifically published research.

Participants are asked to submit a brief proposal with a description of their entry. Supplementary videos, images, apps or other media related to the entry will be accepted. Proposals and related materials will be subject to a peer review by AJPM reviewers.

The journal Editor-in-Chief Kevin Patrick commented:

“The Childhood Obesity Challenge is a one-of-a-kind approach to accelerate scientific communication about a problem of pressing public health importance – essentially new media meeting new challenges. A leading scientific journal and a leading health foundation are teaming up to make this happen, which makes the Challenge innovative both in terms of partnerships and approach.”

Successful submissions will be assessed in terms of innovation, real-world efficacy and according to the impact the submission made to the eight-member judging panel. The top entries can win cash prizes totaling $5,000, including $2,500 for the winning team or individual and winners will be featured in AJPM’s online and print publications.

Former AJPM Editor-at-Large Bill Silberg, who assisted in developing the Challenge’s framework said:

“Researchers, clinicians and policymakers all are seeking innovative and effective approaches to addressing this critical public health problem. Providing a new mechanism for soliciting such ideas, under the auspices of leading scholarly journal, can only advance professional dialogue about preventing and treating obesity and hopefully lead to promising new interventions in the process.”

The judging panel includes Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer Jose Alvarez; Brookings Institution Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Social Dynamics & Policy Ross Hammond; New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley; Global Policy Solutions CEO Maya Rockeymoore; GPS Capital Partners principal and co-founder Lisa Richter; UC San Diego School of Medicine Professor James Sallis; University of Minnesota School of Public Health Professor and Senior Associate Dean Mary Story as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Eduardo Sanchez.

Participants are also encouraged to compete for the Popular Choice Award in order to emphasize the significance of creating solutions for childhood obesity. The Popular Choice Award in height of a $1,000 cash price and recognition in AJPM’s publications will be awarded to the submission that achieves the highest number of votes on the Challenge’s website.

Submission deadline for Childhood Obesity Challenge entries is 5 p.m. EDT, August 15, 2012. To submit an idea for reducing childhood obesity, or to learn more about the competition, please click here.

Written by Petra Rattue