Population Research

Practice-Based Research Group: - childrensmrc.org/pprg/

Namaste School Student Health Project (Christoffel and Mason, funding from internal funds, Namaste School, and Chicago Community Trust). This prospective study has collected data on students at Namaste Charter School, which is designed as an intervention to promote healthy eating and activity. Located in the McKinley Park community area of Chicago, Namaste began student enrollment in the spring of 2004. This project has collected data on children and families, including demographic information, physical measurements, surveys of nutrition knowledge/attitudes/behaviors (KAB), and quality of life, and accelerometry measurements of physical activity. Enrolled subjects are the great majority of students attending the school (starting with K and 1st grade classes, and in 2007-2008, including K-5th grade classes); most are Hispanic and of low income. Data analyses are tracking trends in overweight, physical activity, nutrition KAB, quality of life, and scholastic progress; these take into account the number of years that a child has attended the school, degree of participation in elective after-class activities, parent activity level, and multiple other relevant factors.

Safety and Built Environments Relationship to Children’s Physical Activity: A Pilot Study (Mason, Christoffel, Zhang; funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living Research): This study examines the influence of factors at the individual, family and community level on children's physical activity levels. The study examines 8 community sites in Chicago communities contrasted for maximum variation in safety and built environments. Study subjects include 162 parent/child pairs. Study subjects were overwhemingly in low income and minority (African-American and Hispanic).

Evaluation of ‘Having a Ball’ (Mason, funded by Chicago Public Schools): Chicago Public Schools will implement a ballroom dance program with a nutrition education component for fifth grade students over the next three years. This study will evaluate student and teacher outcomes, including changes in physical activity, socio-emotional skills, cultural knowledge and nutrition knowledge, attitudes and behaviors.

Park Kids (Necheles, funded by CLOCC): An assessment of physical activity using accelerometry and observational tools in children attending a Chicago Park District after-school program.

“ACTIVE” Project (Necheles, funded by CLOCC): The Measuring Physical Activity of Child and Parent Visitors at the Chicago Children’s Museum and John G. Shedd Aquarium: Building a Better Understanding of Activity Connected To Indoor Venue Environments

Go Team Members: Understanding Their Role in Health Promotion (Necheles and Becker, funded by PepsiCo Foundation): An evaluation of Go Team members (youth trained to promote physical activity and healthy eating using 5-4-3-2-1 GO materials).

5-4-3-2-1 Go! Community Obesity Prevention Intervention Study (Necheles with PI Evans at RTI, funded by PepsiCo Foundation): A random sample administered questionnaire of community households in CLOCC vanguard communities to better examine the efficacy of 5-4-3-2-1 GO messaging.

Evaluation of the Active Kids Initiative (Mason, funded by the Fireworks for Kids Foundation): This study evaluates BMI and physical activity outcomes associated with implementation of a physical activity promotion (the Active Kids Initiative). The project seeks to increase child physical activity and hold steady or decrease child BMI through improved physical education classes. Pre and post intervention measures are conducted. PA data are collected using Actigraph accelerometers. Enrolled subjects are children attending the Glenwood School for Boys and Girls between the ages of 8 and 12.

Healthy Families Project (Mason, funded by the BHK Child Development Board): This study evaluates a pre-school intervention program designed to improve student and family health behaviors including nutrition and
physical activity. Over 400 preschool students aged 3 to 5 (primarily 4 year olds) and their families are enrolled in the study which takes place in Houghton, Michigan. Outcomes measured include child nutrition knowledge, attitudes and behaviors and physical activity, and BMI and parental nutrition knowledge, attitudes and behaviors and physical activity behaviors. Additionally, home support for healthy eating and physical activity are measured.

Epidemiology of the Metabolic Syndrome (Wang, PI, with Brickman, Carnethon, Christoffel, Necheles, Zimmerman; funded by NIH): This study is designed to elucidate the interrelation and temporal appearance of precursors of metabolic syndrome (MS) in children and adolescent; the role of major epidemiological variables in the development of MS; and the relative contributions of ecnvironmental and genetic factors to attained level and longitudinal change in MS precursors. The study conducts follow-up exams on approximately 2000 twin pairs in Anqing, China, enrolled when they were 6021 years old in 1998-2000.

Sleep and Adiposity (Wang, PI, with Zee, Christoffel; funded by NIH): This study is designed to elucidate cause-and-effect relationships and mechanisms that link short sleep duration (SSD) and overweight or obesity (OWO) in children, adolescents, and young adults using a large existent prospective Chinese twin cohort. This study will measure biomarkers along the major pathways that link SSD with OWO; conduct cross-sectional and prospective co-twin analyses to determine SSD-OWO relationships, determine if those relationships are genetically mediated, and test the modifying effects of age, gender, Tanner stage, physical activity and nutritional status; and determine if SSD-OWO relationship are mediated by measured biomarkers.

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