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U of M Extension Center for Family Development Receives Nearly $1 Million NIFA Grant to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Youth

A University of Minnesota Extension project led by Family Development staff received nearly $1 million in new grant funding from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to improve the health of our nation’s children.

The Latino Fathers Promoting Healthy Youth Behaviors project aims to prevent obesity among Latino adolescents by engaging families, especially fathers or other male caregivers in the household (foster parents, uncles, grandparents, or older brothers), and their child (10–14 years) in a prevention program. The multidisciplinary team working on this project includes faculty from several different departments at the University; Extension educators from Health and Nutrition, Family Relations, and Family Resource Management; SNAP-Ed educators; and Latino community leaders.

This five-year grant started in March 2016 and will continue until February 2021. During the first year of the grant, the core research team, is focusing on adapting the program titled Padres Informados, Jóvenes Preparados.

Padres Informades, Jóvenes Preparados was originally directed to prevent tobacco use to nutrition and health promotion, and will be adapted through a community-based participatory research process. During the second to fourth grant year, the team will study the efficacy of the adapted program. In the last year, the team will disseminate the research findings and implement its sustainability plans through SNAP-Ed and EFNEP efforts.

This round of funding is offered through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Childhood Obesity Prevention Challenge Area, which supports research to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents ages 2–19 years. Established by the 2008 Farm Bill and re-authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, AFRI is a leading competitive, peer-reviewed grants program for fundamental and applied agricultural sciences.

In the seven years since AFRI was established, the program has led to innovations and ground-breaking discoveries in agriculture to combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate the impacts of climate variability, and enhance resiliency of food systems, and ensure food safety.

The complete list of universities receiving Childhood Obesity Prevention Challenge Area grants is:
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN — $998,484
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington — $746,827
  • University of New England, Biddeford, ME — $797,995
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore — $943,287
  • University of Montana, Missoula — $150,000
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez — $150,000

To learn more about this round of AFRI funding, see NIFA’s May 19 press release. For questions about FD's project, contact Ali Hurtado, Karen Shirer, or Marla Reicks.

FD Communications Team

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