Working in Yaoundé, Cameroon and Cape Town, South Africa, we will design and seek to implement and test interventions that can promote healthy diets and physical activity, particularly with adolescents. 

Because of the goal is to create approaches and policies that simultaneously influence what people eat and how active they are, we can call such approaches ‘double-duty interventions’. Additionally, in keeping with GDAR’s syndemic approach, it is important to consider how robust such interventions may be against climate change and hazards associated with urbanisation.

For example, can urban design be used in ways that protect against flooding or extreme heat, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support physical activity?

Research approach

Since 2017, GDAR has been applying participatory methods to identify and co-design options for interventions with community and policy stakeholders.

Building on this learning, we will use mixed methods and a participatory approach with community members and other stakeholders, to identify specific double-duty interventions. These will be in urban communities and neighbourhoods in low and middle income settings. Because much of our work so far in this area has focused on adolescents, households and schools, these will form the basis of our target populations, together with the actors and organisations that interact with these groups.

In line with the PRACTIS (PRACTical planning for Implementation and Scale-up) guide for identifying targets for potential interventions, we will gain greater understanding of the settings for intervention, engage with key stakeholders, identify key facilitators for and address barriers to implementation.

Our work assessing adaptability to syndemic hazards and evaluating diet and physical activity related responses to COVID-19 will inform our approach. And throughout the process, we will consider implications for and from urbanisation and climate risks.

As well as the PRACTIS guide approach, we will use focus groups and workshops with community members, policymakers, and non-governmental advocacy groups to guide the design and assessment of the interventions. This will also inform dissemination of findings and the potential for future research in this area.