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Community Interventions for Health

OxHA’s Community Interventions for Health (CIH – formerly CAPCoD) initiative acts upon the urgent need to design, implement and assess cost-effective comprehensive interventions for all three risk factors (poor diet, tobacco use, lack of physical activity), adaptable to different cultures and communities. The research is unique in its scale and scope – the interventions will be tracked across multiple countries and multiple settings: schools, health-care centres, workplaces and local communities.

  • For the dedicated CIH website, click here >>
  • To download an introductory leaflet about the CIH project, click here >>
  • To watch a short  video about the CIH project, click here >>
  • For a short article (in Spanish) about CIH in Mexico, from Yo Con Diabetes, click here >>

What is CIH?

CIHThe Oxford Health Alliance (OxHA) has launched a groundbreaking public health research programme to enhance scientific knowledge about the effectiveness of community interventions in reducing the prevalence of chronic diseases. This programme, Community Interventions for Health, will determine what can be done in communities to prevent the further spread of obesity, tobacco use and related illnesses. The research will be conducted in China, England, India and Mexico, and PepsiCo Foundation is funding OxHA with a $5.2 million grant to support the three-year research project.

Aim of CIH

The aim of CIH is to develop and showcase sustainable interventions in addressing poor diet, tobacco use and lack of physical activity, demonstrating their effectiveness in a way that is both practical and scientifically rigorous. Project outcomes will be:

  • a best-practice ‘roadmap’ of guidance to address the risk factors and chronic disease; and
  • a comprehensive international database of process and outcomes of the interventions.

In other words, CIH will provide evidence and practical advice on what does, or does not, work in chronic disease prevention.

Data from all the phases of the project will be shared and disseminated, in particular through the use of innovative online technology, for example the Oxford Health Alliance’s interactive website

Click here >> for further information on major partners in the initiative.

Features of CIH

CIH has three main component parts, which are integral to the design of the interventions:

  • Community coalition-building – key stakeholders work together to encourage healthy lifestyle change throughout the community, for example advocating for bicycle paths and smoke-free environments or creating farmers’ markets
  • Health education – disseminating health messages is vital for success, for example through training of health professionals, using media, social marketing or peer educators.
  • Structural change – structural interventions include advocating for and implementing policy change, environmental change (for example, improving the opportunities for physical activity in schools and workplaces) and economic change (such as reducing taxes on healthy foods). These combine to create communities in which the healthy choices are the easy choices.

CIH has a combined focus on five key areas, which give it a unique scope:

  • Developing and in-transition communities
  • Children and families
  • Assessment of the interventions through a rigorously designed research study
  • The roles played by poverty and access in chronic disease death and disability
  • Comparative analysis between the different sites, using a shared set of measures, with a view to building the roadmap of best practice in chronic disease prevention.

Phases and timeline

  • Phase I: 18-month planning process to identify possible intervention sites. This phase has already been completed, and around 25 target communities (from 15 developing and developed countries) were selected, all based near existing research centres in order to take advantage of local expertise.
  • Phase II: field trial (six months). This will be held in around eight of the original 25 target communities. These communities are chosen to be geographically diverse, but all are communities within which poor diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use are wreaking havoc. The field trial is likely to be held in:
    • China (Hangzhou)*
    • India (Kerala)*
    • Tunisia
    • Mexico (Mexico City)*
    • Argentina
    • Israel
    • England (Leicester)*

   The sites marked * have received funding, and field trials have been completed.

  • Phase III: pilot demonstration study (2.5 years). This will involve baseline assessments of behaviour and environment, implementation of evidence-based interventions, assessment of the interventions, and cross-country comparative analysis of the process and outcomes. The knowledge gained from the different sites will then be compiled and disseminated. Interventions will take place in the four key settings of workplaces, schools, health-care centres and the community, and assessment will be made of around 6,000 people in each of the pilot areas. A further 6,000 people in a local, non-intervention community will be assessed for comparison.
  • Phase IV: using and refining the roadmap developed in the pilot study in at least 15 further sites (chosen from among the 25 target communities identified in Phase I). This will build an international group of specialists in interventions in chronic disease prevention – a group of experts who will then be well placed to advocate for international policy change as well as change at a local level.

Advisory Board and Expert Panel

CIH has an Advisory Board and Expert Panel - click here >>