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Reducing Early Childhood Obesity (RECO) Evaluation


  • Early childhood obesity is a serious and growing problem.
  • Abt is evaluating the reach and impact of First 5 LA’s RECO investments.
  • Results suggest broad reach and significant impacts of RECO across and within LA County.
The Challenge

Many young children are overweight or obese, which can lead to poor health outcomes later in life as well as higher health care costs. First 5 LA, an independent county agency that helps prepare children for kindergarten during their first five years, funded diverse investments to improve children’s health. First 5 LA wanted to assess the reach and impact of the Reducing Early Childhood Obesity (RECO) investments in Los Angeles County.

The Approach

Abt is leading the RECO evaluation, which consists of two interrelated studies. One study assesses the impact of the RECO investments on LA County as a whole and on communities within the county by employing several innovative methods, including a synthetic comparison group method and a comparative interrupted time series method. A separate reach study describes the extent to which the RECO investments target and reach the intended families and those most in need of services.

The Results

Results indicate that RECO investments reached over half of the census tracts in LA County. Abt also found that RECO reduced early childhood obesity across LA County. Looking within the county, we found that RECO reduced early childhood obesity in communities that received RECO activities. Additional findings will be released with project reports in summer 2020.

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