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Connection to racial identity may boost body image in Black youth

Jan 27, 2022

Adolescence can be a time filled with anxiety and insecurity about body shape and size, but a new Penn State study found that for Black youth, having a strong racial identity may help stave off these worries. The researchers found that among Black youth between the ages of 11 and 19 with high body…

New approach can help identify young children most at risk for obesity

Jan 11, 2022

Newly developed risk scores synthesize genetic information into an easy-to-interpret metric that could help clinicians identify young children most at risk of developing obesity. The study, led by researchers at Penn State, used novel statistical methods to establish scoring criteria using data…

Parenting intervention effective in preventing childhood obesity among siblings

Jan 7, 2022

While childhood obesity is a growing problem in the U.S., a parenting intervention proven to help first-time parents prevent childhood obesity is helping second-born children as well, even without further training for the parents. The work was recently published in the journal, Obesity. According…

Studying the effects of food ads on childhood obesity

May 23, 2021

Food advertisements targeting kids can encourage poor eating habits that contribute to obesity, however not all children are susceptible. Penn State researchers are exploring the factors that protect children from overeating in response to food ads in a $2.3 million NIH National Institute of…

Youth obesity rates unaffected by income increases

Mar 19, 2021

Does higher income for family households lead to lower youth obesity rates? A Penn State researcher found study results that suggest the answer is no. Molly Martin, associate professor of sociology and demography, recently published the findings of her study in the Social Science & Medicine…
News Topics: Child ObesityPRI

Research brief ties increased income from Marcellus Shale natural gas development to youth obesity rates

Feb 16, 2021

The Marcellus Shale natural gas development increased income for families in several rural Pennsylvania counties. In the U.S., children in families with more income typically have lower rates of obesity. But, despite the sudden influx of income to the communities around the Marcellus Shale, rates…

Symposium focuses on families and food, honors late colleague Leann Birch

Nov 19, 2019

The late Leann Birch, a former Penn State distinguished professor of human development and family studies and former director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, was honored at the 27th Annual National Symposium on Family issues, held recently at…

27th Annual National Symposium on Family Issues will take place Oct. 21-22

Oct 9, 2019

Helping children develop healthy diets is no easy task. The practice is dependent on the crucial roles families play in children’s eating behaviors and orientations toward food. The 2019 National Symposium on Family Issues will provide an overview of the many interconnections between families and…

Young children’s oral bacteria may predict obesity

Sep 19, 2018

Weight gain trajectories in early childhood are related to the composition of oral bacteria of two-year-old children, suggesting that this understudied aspect of a child’s microbiota — the collection of microorganisms, including beneficial bacteria, residing in the mouth — could serve as an early…

Parents’ behavior during playtime may affect toddler’s weight later on

Aug 24, 2018

Parents who positively engage with their children during play time — and gently steer them to clean up afterward — may help toddlers with low-self regulation have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) later on as preschoolers. In a study, researchers found that toddlers who had poor self-regulation skills…

Responsive parenting intervention results in lower BMIs through age three

Aug 8, 2018

An intervention designed to promote healthy growth, which taught first-time moms how to respond with age-appropriate responses to their babies’ needs, resulted in children having lower body mass indexes (BMIs) when they were three years old. The intervention, which began shortly after the babies’…

Parenting and personality work together to affect baby’s weight gain

Mar 21, 2018

Offering a snack may be a sure way to soothe a fussy child, but researchers say making it a habit can result in unnecessary weight gain in babies with certain temperaments. The researchers studied the babies’ temperament and how their mothers soothed them when the babies were six months old. When…