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$4.5 million grant creates transdisciplinary program to train scholars in child obesity prevention
Date:5/3/2011

URBANA A five-year $4.5 million USDA grant to University of Illinois researchers will establish the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program (I-TOPP), an innovative research-based program that will combine a Ph.D. with a master's in public health (MPH) degree focused on child obesity prevention.

"This exciting new program allows us to develop novel hypotheses and approaches as researchers come together from their individual areas of expertise to solve the problem of child obesity," said Sharon Donovan, the Melissa M. Noel Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and I-TOPP director.

Students in the new program will be taught to think broadly about child obesity because research has shown that no single approach adequately addresses the problem, said Donovan.

"None of us as individuals has the expertise to cover the entire landscape," she noted.

I-TOPP scholars who receive this new degree will benefit from a blend of transdisciplinary and translational research, Donovan said.

"By combining training in research and public health interventions, these students will be uniquely qualified to develop, implement and evaluate programs targeting childhood obesity prevention," she added.

I-TOPP co-director and head of the university's MPH program David Buchner said the result will be a uniquely trained group of people who use both research and public health practice skills to address one of our country's most urgent public health problems. The MPH program is housed in the College of Applied Health Sciences.

The new degree will integrate innovative research in nutrition, child development and family studies, physical activity, public health science and practice, economics, practices in child care centers, and the effects of media. Students will develop and test transdisciplinary interventions to prevent childhood obesity, Donovan said.

I-TOPP will build on the tran
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Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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