The University of Minnesota has received a $7 million dollar federal grant to fight childhood obesity among families of low-income and ethnically-diverse preschoolers.
University researchers say they will tackle obesity in a multi-prong approach that involves family doctors, parenting counselors and local stores.
"It's exciting because we've never been able to try to have an influence in multiple settings at the same time on families and children," said Simone French, childhood nutrition expert for the U of M. French is a lead investigator on the project and said the effort takes a new approach.
"It's just more opportunity to build a more complex and intensive package that looks at all the settings that people live their lives in," French said.
French said her team is focusing on minority and low-income kids because those children have the highest risk of obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of all ethnic minority children born in the year 2000 or later will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime, largely due to obesity.
The university will use the grant money to fund a pilot project this fall involving 30 families. A second study will then follow 500 families for three years.