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Obesity & Healthy Weight

Multistate Research Projects in Obesity

Multistate research projects are funded through Hatch formula grants that are awarded on a competitive basis through regional research offices. The process calls for a consensus on the problem or issue to be addressed, and it brings together the institutions, disciplines, and functions necessary to address the problem within a set time. Examples of multistate projects relating to obesity follow.

  • Promoting Healthful Eating to Prevent Excessive Weight Gain in Young Adults (NC-1028, formerly NC-219). This multistate research group is designing an intervention to prevent weight gain and promote healthy diet and exercise choices among young adult college students. The experimental intervention will use principles of community-based participatory research -- a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves community members, organizational representatives, and researchers in all aspects of the research process.
  • An Integrated Approach to Prevention of Obesity in High Risk Families (W-1005). This project focuses on developing behaviors that lead to resilience to weight gain in children from low-income families. Resilience is a characteristic that exists only in a condition of adversity. Families find themselves living within an environment that tends to cause obesity; they are exposed to television advertising, large food portions, frequent eating away from home experiences, limited physical activity, etc. Since not all low-income children are overweight, the assumption is that some low-income families negotiate through this environment without their children becoming overweight (regardless of genetic influence). What makes these families different (e.g., resilient) from others in the same environment? The question can be resolved only by comparing families. Once differences are revealed, then a framework for realistic interventions will be developed.
  • Parent and Household Influences on Calcium Intake Among Preadolescents (W-1003) . This project focuses on parental and household factors and their influence on calcium intake of preadolescent children (11-12 years old). This age group will provide information helpful in preventing the decline in calcium consumption observed after this age. While information about influences on calcium intake was gathered from children, parental viewpoints have not been examined. The proposal addresses the following factors: availability of calcium-rich foods in the home; parental consumption of calcium-rich foods at home and away from home; actual or perceived lactose intolerance; belief that dairy products contribute to excess body weight; hectic day-to-day schedules; food preferences and dislikes; parental expectations regarding calcium-rich food consumption; parental knowledge regarding calcium needs of their child and what foods in what quantities meet those needs; attitudes toward use of supplements and calcium-rich foods; parenting skills; and the family eating environment.
  • Local Food Choices, Eating Patterns and Population Health (NC-1033, formerly NC-1001). . This project will examine the relationships of food environments to diets, obesity, and health. Although individuals make food choices, this project assumes that the food environment and foodways (what people eat and why they eat it) are collectively constructed. The project will also study the effects of the social organization of food systems, including local and regional distribution patterns, alternative food sources, and formal and informal food exchange patterns on diets and health.