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USDA Announces Grants for Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the USDA awarded $9 million in grants to develop childhood obesity intervention programs through colleges and universities in 12 states and Puerto Rico.  The grants are funded through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the flagship competitive grant program authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill.

California State University, Chico, Calif., $149,890 | Works to better understand strategies for promoting healthy eating behaviors through mindful eating among children and families in the Hispanic community. The project will include classroom and home activities about enjoyment of flavor, texture and appearance, hunger and fullness awareness, food and mood, and family sit-down meals.

University of California, Davis, Calif., $690,537 | Aims to advance the fight against pediatric obesity by focusing on the expansion of both the traditional EFNEP programming in a medical clinic setting and the Healthy Kids program to the Spanish-speaking populations in California and Nevada.

University of California, Berkeley, Calif., $777,508  | Seeks to improve dietary intake and reduce obesity among low-income youth and enhance the financial and social sustainability of school foodservices by promoting healthier habits and using the principles of behavioral economics.

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., $990,984 | The HEROs Study (HEalthy EnviROnments Study) seeks to impact young children’s healthy behaviors by incorporating their successes in improving willingness to try new foods and motor performance in preschool, and amplifying these effects by adding a powerful family component.
 
University of Connecticut, Mansfield, Conn., $149,603 | Examines the food environment and nutritional quality of meals served and consumed in non USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) child care centers.

Florida International University, Miami, Fla., $150,000 | Develops and examines an elementary school obesity prevention intervention that leverages pre-service classroom teachers as agents of change to improve children's nutrition and physical activity behaviors and minimize risks for childhood obesity.

University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Fla., $584,661 | Evaluates the effectiveness of a train-the-trainer (TTT) model to deliver the evidence-based “Healthy Caregivers, Healthy Children” early childhood obesity prevention toolkit.

University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., $448,385 | Seeks to decrease childhood obesity rates in Hispanic populations through a six-week community-based program focused on increasing healthy dietary behavior patterns and basic knowledge of nutrition, physical activity levels, and family mealtimes.

Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $693,768 | Advances obesity prevention research by developing and evaluating methods to support school-based implementation of the evidence-based SWITCH program through school-wellness coalitions.

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $833,509 | A multidisciplinary team from Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and the regional Head Start program will focus on identifying, implementing, and testing evidence-based interventions addressing obesity prevention among families.

Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., $969,157 | Develops actionable strategies to improve the food environment and motivate dietary behavior change with the long-term outcome of reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents.
 
Duke University, Durham, N.C., $50,000 | Provides support for the "Bridging Communication Gaps to Achieve Healthy Weight in Black Communities” workshop, which aims to identify communication approaches to improve dissemination of evidence-based public health messages and intervention strategies related to healthy eating and obesity prevention for black children, adolescents and adult caregivers.

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., $870,473 | The project will test an approach to prevent childhood obesity by altering aspects of children’s environments in ways that increase food literacy, increase exposure to and intake of vegetables, and increase time spent in active play.

Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce, Puerto Rico, $149,889 | Investigates the influence of peer support and nutritional guidance-based intervention on facilitating positive behavior changes and preventing unhealthy weight gain among at-risk Puerto Rican youth.
 
Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tenn., $149,668 |  Seeks to strengthen and improve the Youth Active and Media Savvy program, which is designed to empower and motivate African American youth with knowledge and awareness to make better health and wellness choices related to diet, physical activity, and media usage.

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, $840,957 | Adds a feeding component to the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program through the use of videos designed to promote self-regulation of child eating through sensitivity to internal cues of hunger and fullness and acceptance of new foods.
 
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $906,530 | Aims to reduce the incidence of overweight and obesity among Mexican-heritage children from low-income communities through a family-based obesity prevention program that integrates research, education, and extension activities to change individual and family behaviors in the home environment.

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