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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Research Project #445973

Research Project: Examine Drivers of Obesity Risk in Youth from Under-Represented Families

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Project Number: 3092-10700-068-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2024
End Date: Mar 31, 2029

Objective: Examine influences on obesity risk in children and adolescents from under-represented families.

Overweight and obesity are the most significant diet-related risk factors, making child and adolescent obesity prevention a key factor in reducing chronic disease risk. Understanding drivers of obesity among children from under-represented families who are at a greater risk for developing obesity is a public health priority. Likely drivers include a lack of understanding or adequately addressing influences on childhood obesity such as: a) the role of residential location; b) how parents approach feeding their child including the emotional climate created by those interactions (e.g., feeding styles); c) household fruit and vegetable (FV) purchases; and d) food and nutrition security. Three independent, but related, research projects, guided by the Socio-Ecological Model, will address these knowledge gaps. Our sub-objectives will produce content for a digital obesity prevention intervention tailored to teens in rural communities (1.A.); investigate the development of childhood obesity among families with low-incomes using qualitative strategies to gain a better understanding of family interactions around food (1.B); and explore FV purchases among low-income households with children, specifically using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Electronic Benefit Transfer and its association with home FV availability, and food and nutrition security (1.C.,1.D.). These projects address important knowledge gaps, thereby establishing a firm foundation for future child obesity prevention interventions for under-represented youth, and guide policies affecting federal nutrition assistance programs.