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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Research Project #436286

Research Project: Eating Patterns and Obesity Prevention in Children

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Project Number: 3092-10700-068-010-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2019
End Date: Mar 31, 2024

Objective 1: Characterize the food and activity environments in which teens in rural areas live, work, and play and their perceptions regarding obesity, challenges to eating healthfully and being physically active, and ways in which technology might be useful in helping them engage in healthy behaviors. Objective 2: In low-income Hispanic families with children ages 4 to 5 at baseline, examine the following parent feeding and child eating behaviors based on data from an existing data set: Objective 2A: the direction of effects between parent feeding styles and child eating behaviors; Objective 2B: how parent feeding styles and child eating behaviors at baseline predict individual growth curve trajectories for child body mass index (BMI) across three time points 18 months apart (ages 4 to 5 at baseline; ages 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 at Time 2; ages 7 to 8 at Time 3); Objective 2C: how child eating behaviors interact with parent feeding styles in predicting child BMI overtime. Objective 3: Assess the psychometrics of sub-scales of food and physical activity parenting and whether there is differential item functioning among a sample of ethnically and racially diverse fathers. Objective 4: Describe fathers' use of parenting practices that support healthful nutrition and physical activity for their children and how this varies by demographic factors (race/ethnicity, education, income), household responsibilities, and co-parenting alliance. Objective 5: Develop and assess the feasibility of child obesity prevention videos for mothers to better engage them during a father targeted obesity prevention program. Objective 6: Assess three aspects of infant temperament: 1) surgency, negative affectivity, and affiliation/orienting by direct observation; 2) infant eating behaviors as measured by several sucking parameters, for example maximal suck pressure, burst rate and reductions in pressure during bottle feeding, and 3) infant adiposity by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and characterize the associations between these traits.

Obesity is the most prevalent nutrition-related pediatric problem in the US and most child obesity prevention interventions have not been effective. Although there has been disagreement regarding the reasons for this lack of documented success, likely reasons include not understanding or adequately addressing: a) the role of place of residence on obesity risk; b) how parents influence child behaviors; c) how to accurately assess intervention effects; d) cultural influences; and/or e) the role of child characteristics, such as temperament, on obesity risk. Using an approach informed by the Socio-Ecological Model, four independent research projects will address these knowledge gaps. We will conduct mixed methods research to understand factors that influence obesity risk of rural adolescents and the ways in which technology may be used to help them make healthy choices. Additionally, we will take an intensive look at the family by assessing how feeding styles and practices influence child eating behaviors, and assess how to independently engage both fathers and mothers in obesity prevention interventions and accurately assess father's food and physical activity parenting behaviors. Researchers will also examine the role of child temperament on infant feeding behavior and adiposity.