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USDA Announces $6.3 million in Available Funding to Combat Childhood Obesity

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 5, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $6.3 million in available funding for projects to help combat childhood obesity, which affects more than 12 million children in the United States. Funding is made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.


“Obesity is more likely to affect low-income children,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA investments help at-risk communities by promoting nutrition and healthy living, which lead to the longer-term goals of obesity prevention and lower healthcare costs.”

AFRI is America’s flagship competitive grants programs for addressing critical societal issues through the food and agricultural sciences. The AFRI Childhood Obesity Prevention Challenge Area supports projects to better understand the factors behind childhood weight gain. Projects may also develop and expand effective interventions or increase the number of trained parents, caregivers, and educators equipped to promote childhood obesity prevention.

In FY 2017, this Challenge Area is only accepting applications for integrated research, education, and extension projects. Eligible applicants include colleges and universities, 1994 land-grant institutions, and Hispanic-serving institutions.

The deadline for applications is June 28, 2017.

To date, NIFA has invested more than $168 million through the AFRI Childhood Obesity Prevention Challenge Area. Among previously funded projects, the University of Illinois offered Hispanic families a six-week workshop series to promote family activities on healthier eating and exercise. Researchers at the University of Maine developed iCook 4-H to encourage youth to learn about healthy lifestyles by preparing meals in their homes and increasing physical activity with their families.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel has resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability, and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.

USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider and employer.

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