Several factors, including nutrition, hormones and lack of physical activity are responsible for the development of obesity in children. There is a disproportionate rate of childhood obesity and related health issues among low income and minority populations. Preschool is a crucial period that influences children’s food habits, food consumption and physical activity. Few studies have been conducted to identify changes in food consumption and physical activity patterns during this phase of childhood. Research by Avinash Tope, PhD, Assistant Professor in Human Health and Food Safety, will conduct a three year study in a cohort of Rosenwald preschool children along with their parents to:
1) Determine food consumption, choices and nutrient intake patterns, evaluate plate waste and nutrient intake from meals provided in school and at home.
2) Ascertain anthropometric measurements to obtain body mass index, fat free body mass and ratios of waist to hip and waist to thigh circumference as indicators of obesity.
3) Monitor physical activity and assess the home environment. Parents will need to apply to have their children participate in this study.