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FSU researcher wins $2.2 million grant to study childhood obesity
Date:4/27/2009

lculated from weight and height measurements, is a reliable indicator of whether children are overweight. Each school offers three wellness programs: a free after-school exercise program for children sponsored by Capital Health Plan; expanded health assessments sponsored by the FSU College of Medicine using funds generated by Dance Marathon on the FSU campus; and a wellness Web site that promotes healthy eating and activity. Researchers will track the children to document how much their health changes and how much their parents take advantage of the wellness programs.

Because the study continues over several years, researchers also will get to assess what happens when the children aren't in school.

"Data suggest overweight children often show improvement in fitness during the school year if they participate in physical education or other types of physical activity programs. However, they often gain the weight back in the summer," Johnson said. "We'll be able to track whether this phenomenon really happens."

Parents are a key part of this project. They play a crucial role in the diet and health habits their children develop.

"If you're overweight as a child, you're more likely to be overweight as an adult," Johnson said. "If you're an overweight kindergartner and we can get your weight down, you're far less likely to be obese as an adult."

Johnson recently was chosen to receive a Distinguished Research Professor Award from The Florida State University. It honors outstanding research among full professors who have attained national and international visibility. She previously held that distinction at the University of Florida and is the first from the young FSU College of Medicine research program to be selected for the honor.

"Dr. Johnson is an outstanding scholar in her field," College of Medicine Dean John P. Fogarty wrote in his nomination letter, "and is one of the first behavioral scientists to apply behavio
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Contact: Ron Hartung
ronald.hartung@med.fsu.edu
850-645-9205
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert

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