Michigan’s Momentum Center tackles childhood obesity through multidisciplinary approach
In the last 30 years, childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents. The U-M Momentum Center, directed Dr. Karen Peterson, is working to reverse this trend. Investigators from SPH and across the university are conducting two studies to explore the intersections between environments, behaviors, and biology in order to generate original solutions. Both studies involve health scientists, designers, social scientists, and humanities researchers, and aim to identify opportunities for intervention in both the home/family setting and in the school environment.
[Photo Dr. Julie Lumeng (left) and Dr. Karen Peterson]
- The Healthy Families project is an ongoing observational study of 140 children and their parents to examine the home setting and family/child interactions. This data will be used to develop more effective communication tools to help parents better influence a range of their children’s behaviors, including eating and physical activity. The project is led by Momentum Center Associate Director Dr. Julie Lumeng, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics in the University of Michigan Health System.
- Active Class brings together researchers from architecture, kinesiology, public health and education to reimagine elementary classrooms as places more conducive to increased levels of physical activity throughout the school day. Led by Mr. Milton Curry, associate professor and associate dean of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Active Class investigators are currently determining the optimal levels of physical activity required to maintain energy balance, exploring possibilities for changing the layout of classroom spaces, and ensuring that proposed changes also support pedagogical and classroom management requirements.
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