Research Projects

Healthy Kids/Niños Sanos Study

  • Rising child obesity statistics reflect an ongoing need for obesity prevention intervention efforts tailored for low-income ethnically diverse families with young children. Environmental conditions in which these oHealthy Kids Logobesity trends are established start early in life and are largely influenced by parents and other adults that care for young children. The Healthy Kids/Niños Sanos team is working to understand the how the home environment helps to shape dietary behaviors in early childhood and develop tools that will facilitate obesity prevention efforts.
  • Healthy Kids collected data on diet, physical activity, weight, and parenting from over 200 low-income parents and their preschool aged children over a 2 year period. The data is being analyzed to understand how these early behaviors contribute to the development of obesity in early childhood. Additionally, the team has used the data to validate self-assessment tools (Healthy Kids and My Child at Mealtime) designed to enhance obesity intervention programs targeting families with young children.Ninos Sanos Logo
  • Niños Sanos collected data on diet, physical activity, weight, and parenting from over 100 Spanish speaking, low-income parents and their preschool aged children. The data is being analyzed to understand the development of obesity in this population and to validate the Spanish language self-assessment tools.
  • To download the Healthy Kids and the self-assessment tools, visit http://healthykids.ucdavis.edu/

 

Parents to Peers Study (PtoP)

  • Using multiple methods, the Parents to Peers project team examines how both parent and peer influences relate to the foods available to youth during lunchtime at school, and ultimately what students choose to eat.
    Research Assistants collecting data from student's lunches
    Research assistants collecting data from student's lunches.
    Working with local elementary schools, we collected data from fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students and their parents using a daily report design.
  • With this design, we have the capacity to look at both interindividual differences and intraindividual change across the week. For example, we examine between-student differences in daily consumption of fruits and vegetables based on the level of fruit and vegetables availability at home. We can consider within-student variations in fruit and vegetable consumption based on factors such as food sharing behaviors at lunchtime.
    Research assistants at the end-of-the-year smoothie party for PtoP study schools
    Research assistants at the end-of-the-year smoothie party for PtoP study schools.
    It may be, for instance, that receiving grapes from a friend encourages consumption of this and other fruits in one’s own lunch, while receiving a sweet dessert might discourage consumption of fruits available in the lunch.                                                     
  •  For more information about PtoP, see our article in the National Council on Family Relations Report on Families and Obesity or contact study coordinator Carolyn Sutter.

Rural Families Speak about Health Study (RFSH)

The overall objective of RFSH is to determine the interactions of individual, family, community, and policy contexts on physical and mental health in diverse rural low-income families.

  • Specific goals of RFSH include:
    • To examine individual and family level characteristics which impact physical and mental health in diverse rural low-income families.
    • To examine community contexts that impact family mental and physical health in diverse rural low-income families.
    • To examine policies that impact family mental and physical health in diverse rural low-income families.
    • To examine interactions of individual, family, community, and policy on mental and physical health in diverse rural low-income families.
  • RFSH project is a multi-state research project, funded by Agricultural Experiment Stations in participating states and other sources. Dr. Ontai serves as PI for the California branch of the project.