Baylor to lead physical activity and screen time components of a $4.9 million grant from USDA

Baylor University's Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation (HHPR), along with partners from Texas A&M University's School of Public Health (lead on the overall project), New Mexico State University, the Mariposa Community Health Center in Arizona, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service have received a five-year, $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve the lives of families living along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Dr. Renée Umstattd Meyer, associate professor, Baylor HHPR, will lead the team on all physical activity and screen time components of the funded project. The team plans to implement a family-centered approach to reducing the incidence of childhood obesity along the border through research, education and extension in three key areas: nutrition, physical activity, and "screen time." Screen time is a sedentary activity that includes all activities done in front of a screen (eg: watching TV, video games, computer work).

The funded program will focus on areas with the least amount of resources, such as along the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso to Brownsville. Levels of childhood obesity in these areas are reaching "epidemic proportions," according to studies conducted by the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission.

The USDA awarded the grant through the Childhood Obesity Prevention Challenge Area, a program of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative sponsored by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.