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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Little Rock, Arkansas » Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center » Microbiome and Metabolism Research » Research » Research Project #439549

Research Project: Dietary and Physical Activity Influences on Infant/Child/Adolescent/Maternal Health and Development

Location: Microbiome and Metabolism Research

Project Number: 6026-51000-012-001-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2021
End Date: Jun 30, 2026

The mission of Cooperator's Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center (ACNC) is to conduct cutting-edge research to understand how maternal-child nutrition and physical activity optimize health and development by conducting research on: 1. Central nervous system and cognitive development and function of infants and children. 2. Maternal and child body composition,metabolism, gene expression and epigenetics (including responses to food macronutrients, phytochemicals and microbederived factors), child growth, and child development. 3. Impact of parental and child physical activity on these parameters, singly or in combination with diet, and the biological basis for exercise-associated behaviors and health outcomes. To accomplish this, the ACNC has the following objectives and as appropriate, others as mutually agreed upon: A. Determine how maternal/parental-child dyads/triads diet, exercise, and metabolic health associate with psychological/behavioral, neurologic, neurophysiological and physiological function and development in children. B. Understand how postnatal diet, childhood physical activity, and nutrition associate with psychological/ behavioral, neurologic and physiological function and development in children. C. Characterize the interaction between the microbiome, host health and nutrition to modify physiology and promote health and development (e.g. skeleton, gastrointestinal and hepatic tissues, immune system, cardiovascular, and muscle). In addition, objective for use of funds in support of the ARS unit (intramural research program): This project aims to determine the role of prenatal and early-life dietary factors and the gut microbiota on host health. The overarching goals of the current project are: 1. To determine the mechanism of how prenatal factors and early diet affect the development and function of key physiological systems (e.g., metabolism, gut physiology, liver, lungs, brain, kidney, and immune system). 2. To understand host-gut microbiota cross-talk. 3. To unveil immunomodulatory functions of milk bioactives with and without microbiota. Ultimately, the goal is to investigate prenatal factors such as the impact of maternal obesity on mothers’ immune system and to determine the role of infant diet (i.e human milk or formula) on a child’s health.

To achieve these objectives, extensively detailed research plans have been developed, reviewed and approved that encompasses the specific research described below. Research is to be accomplished over a multi-year period as resources are available and as readiness for research and management capabilities develop. These plans address the following research areas and other research studies mutually agreed upon and approved by the Office of Scientific Quality Review: A. Antenatal Factors Impacting Obesity and Metabolism in Children B. Pediatric Physical Activity: Mechanisms Impacting Health and Development C. Dietary Influences on Psychological and Neuropsychophysiological Development and Function in Children D. Developmental Programming Associated with Maternal Diet and Obesity E. Postnatal Dietary Factors Impacting Healthy Development ARS Unit Objectives: Objective 1: Determine the role of prenatal factors on mother’s health. Objective 2: Investigate the role of prenatal factors and postnatal factors on infants’ health.