USDA announces new funding opportunity for childhood obesity prevention research

On Feb. 8, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would be funding up to $5 million in new grants for childhood obesity prevention research.

The grants are funded through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which funds competitive grants for fundamental and applied research, education, and extension to address food and agricultural sciences. These new awards fall under the AFRI Childhood Obesity Prevention Area: a program designed to achieve the long-term outcomes of reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents aged 2-19.

Project types supported by AFRI will propose multi-function Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Projects, and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants. A successful integrated project will include all three functions of the agricultural knowledge system (i.e., research, education, and extension) within a project, and be focused around a problem or issue.

Projects are expected to contribute to the achievement of the following goals:

  • Generate new knowledge about behavioral, social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence excessive weight gain by children and adolescents.
  • Develop effective behavioral, social, and environmental interventions to increase dietary intakes of fruits and vegetables; increase the variety of vegetables in the diet and decrease dietary intakes of foods high in solid fats and added sugars; increase the number of children who meet guidelines for television viewing and computer use; increase physical activity in children; and ultimately decrease the proportion of children and adolescents who are overweight or obese. The development of new, more effective evaluation tools may be necessary.
  • Expand the number of interventions proven effective and the assessment of their impact.
  • Increase the number of parents, caretakers, educators, practitioners, and researchers who receive the training and effectively model behaviors necessary to address the complex problem of childhood obesity prevention.

Applications are due on April 11.

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