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Children playing outside

The Family and Child Health Project is made up of three separate grants: The Family Health Study, SNAP-Ed, and the USDA Healthy Bodies Project.

  • The Family Health Study is an NIH-funded multi-site research project focused on links between stress and obesity in adolescents. We conduct home visits with families in Central PA and rural North Carolina.
  • SNAP-Ed Healthy Bodies Project (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is a nutrition education project that aims to increase food literacy, fruit and vegetable intake, and physical activity in preschool and school-age children and their families in Central PA.
  • The USDA Obesity Prevention Project is a large scale intervention research project focused on promoting healthy eating and physical activity in preschool children, with a goal of preventing childhood obesity.

The Family and Child Health project is also involved with the USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) which ensures that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites.

If you would like more information about the lab, or how you can get involved, email us

The Problem of Overweight and Obesity

It is estimated that approximately 65% of adults living in the U.S. are overweight; almost 31% are obese. Because overweight parents are likely to have overweight children, further increases in childhood obesity are imminent. While the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased among children from all socioeconomic groups, some groups are disproportionately affected, particularly children living in poverty, and African-American and Hispanic children. The Family and Child Health Project aims to identify various biobehavioral mechanisms that influence the development of obesity in children.