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Temple receives $3.7 million to study parenting styles' effect on childhood obesity
Date:3/14/2011

Temple's Center for Obesity Research and Education recently received a five year, $3.7 million grant from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to fund a project aimed at preventing obesity among low-income pre-schoolers.

The focus will be to teach mothers simple yet authoritative strategies to promote appropriate food choices and portion sizes to their children. The grant was awarded to Jenifer Orlet Fisher, associate professor of public health and director of CORE's Family Eating Laboratory, and Elena Serrano, associate professor of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech.

"There's a lot of talk about what types of food children should eat, but there is very little research about what factors affect how they eat," said Fisher. "Some studies have shown that parents with a more authoritative parenting style have children that are less likely to be obese. We want to see if giving mothers straightforward authoritative feeding strategies around food portion size could be the key."

She says the study will be the first of its kind a translational research project that provides basic behavioral science on child portion sizes to create a community-level nutrition education program.

Fisher's project consists of three parts: The first will be to talk with mothers to learn how factors be they socioeconomic, socio-cultural, or structural - influence their child feeding strategies around portion size. With this information in mind, the next step will be to develop a behavioral intervention for mothers and their children to be tested in a clinical trial, and the last step will be to implement the clinical-based program within an urban community in Virginia as part of the SNAP-Ed program, an extension of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, that provides schools with nutrition education.

"Low income individuals are some of the hardest hit by obesity," said Fisher. "And we know
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Contact: Renee Cree
rencree@temple.edu
215-204-6522
Temple University
Source:Eurekalert

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