USDA announces support of research to confront childhood obesity

Omaha, NE – The USDA is awarding grants to colleges and universities all over the nation with the purpose of reducing the problem of childhood obesity.

Dr. Roger Beachy, Director of the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or NIFA, announced the grants earlier this week. Beachy says the research will address issues crucial in childhood obesity prevention. He says childhood obesity is an important national issue; one that NIFA has made a major focus of their research initiatives. Dr. Beachy says the program announced this week will center on children ages 2 to 6, "We've elected to make awards to universities and institutions who address the issues related to that range of children because that's the entry point most of us are concerned about. This age base we are talking about through these announcements, 2 through 6, are the areas that social scientists and economists and nutritionists are convinced that we can have an impact on."

Dr. Beachy says each grant involves multiple institutions. In Nebraska, the $1 million grant awarded to UNL will expand nutritional education and social enrichment programs in the elementary schools in the Lincoln Public School District. In Iowa, the grant has been awarded to The National Nutrient Databank Steering Committee in Iowa City. It'll be used for a conference where scientists will come together and share their knowledge about food consumption.