Initiative for Promoting Healthy Lifestyles across the Lifespan

Chronic illnesses and unhealthy lifestyles threaten the health of individuals across the lifespan in epidemic proportions and are especially concerning in ethnic minority populations.

A healthy lifestyle includes biobehavioral factors such as good nutrition, increasing physical activity, reducing inactivity, and getting adequate sleep (quality/duration). While genetics, gender, ethnic variation, socioeconomic status, and the physical environment impact these factors, interventions that target one or more of these aspects of a healthy lifestyle result in enhanced prevention, improved treatment, and better quality of life for individuals with many chronic illnesses.

Therefore, promoting healthy lifestyles in populations across the lifespan is essential to address the epidemic of chronic conditions in the United States. Because a wide range of variables interact to influence these factors, an interdisciplinary approach is beneficial to support individuals, families, and communities in their self-management of healthy lifestyles including diet, activity, inactivity, and sleep.


Develop an integrated approach to the promotion of healthy lifestyles across the lifespan in order to improve the health of maternal, child/adolescent, and adult populations; and reduce health disparities due to obesity and other chronic illnesses.


Strengthen research related to the promotion of healthy lifestyles by collaborating with other schools and colleges on the Anschutz Medical Campus, fostering interdisciplinary partnerships, and promoting the collection of common measures across studies.

Life Course Framework

There are critical and sensitive periods for health promotion strategies to influence health trajectories. A variety of risk and protective factors including biological, genetic, psychological, cultural, and historical events and experiences influence the overall health of individuals and populations. Different health trajectories are the product of these cumulative risk and protective factors and other influences that are programmed into biobehavioral regulatory systems during critical and sensitive periods. This model will guide the creation and application of culturally relevant and developmentally appropriate intervention studies focused on the promotion of healthy lifestyles to prevent and treat obesity and related chronic conditions. Click on the thumbnail photo to view a larger version of the Life Course Framework described.

Reference: Halfon N, Hochstein M. Life course health development: an integrated framework for developing Health, policy, and Research. Milbank Q. 2002;80(3):433-479.

Chronic Care Model

The overall framework for this initiative is the Chronic Care Model (CCM), which describes how the healthcare system as a whole can promote healthy lifestyles for patients within the context of their family and community. The CCM suggests that patient outcomes improve when a prepared, proactive practice team interacts with an informed, activated patient as a result of a patient-provider partnership. Click on the thumbnail photo to view a larger version of the CCM.

Reference: Wagner EH. Chronic Disease Management: what will it take to improve care for chronic illness? Eff Clin Pract. Aug-Sep 1998;1(1):2-4.


Current research projects include interdisciplinary teams comprised of experts and developing scientists from nursing, nutrition, physical activity, informatics, medicine, and public health. Research is focused on self-management of healthy lifestyles, health information technology, as well as obesity and related chronic conditions to advance the science in promoting healthy lifestyles in diverse populations. Explore the links below to learn more about current research studies. Click the image at right to view a larger image of the Research Initiative Bubble Chart.

Community Involvement

We are looking to collaborate with patient and community partners. If you are interested in more information, please use the contact information in the links below.

  • Implementing Obesity Guidelines into School-Based Health Centers - Are you a school-based health center provider? Want to improve care for overweight/obese adolescents and learn more about current obesity guidelines and recommendations? We invite you to participate in a grant application comparing different approaches to implementing obesity guidelines into your school-based health center.

  • Infant Eating Challenges - Looking for parents who have a child with a g-tube due to prematurity, birth defect, or eating challenges as an infant. We are developing an exciting project and looking for parents with first-hand experience to partner with us!


Investigators from across the state of Colorado bring extensive expertise in obesity and related chronic conditions, health information technology to support self-management, culturally-sensitive interventions, and biobehavioral measurement of outcomes.

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