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Compendium of Nutrition and Obesity Projects at UPenn

There are many projects going on at the University of Pennsylvania in the areas of nutrition and obesity prevention/management and this is an area of great interest to the Center for Health Behavior Research. Because of this, we have started compiling a compendium of nutrition and obesity projects at U-Penn. This list highlights related work being conducted here and is a mechanism for encouraging interdisciplinary collaborations around these issues. Calls for input will be made on a semi-annual basis.

This compendium is a work in progress and we would like to hear from you if you are involved in a grant, community project or course/training related to nutrition and obesity prevention/management. Please take a moment to complete the information on this form and return it to shgreen@upenn.edu.

For questions, please contact Sarah Green (shgreen@upenn.edu).

Name of Activity: Brain Imaging and Treatment Studies of the Night Eating Syndrome
Leader/Director/PI: Kelly C. Allison, PhD and Albert Stunkard, MD
Type of Activity:Research Project Grant (Forest Laboratories)
Date: From 12/2009 to 9/2011
Brief Description: The current study is being conducted study to learn more about the biology of the night eating syndrome through brain imaging and to test a medication to measure how it affects symptoms of night eating. We are examining levels of the serotonin transporter in the brain to see if these levels are elevated (in comparison to persons without NES), and, if they are, if these levels can predict response to a medication.
Name of Activity: Fresh and Innovative Treatments for Maternal Overweight Management (FIT-MOM Study)
Leader/Director/PI: Kelly C. Allison, PhD
Type of Activity:Research Project Grant (The Obesity Society/GlaxoSmithKline--Research Grant)
Date: From 12/2010 to 11/2011
Brief Description: FIT-MOM seeks to test a behaviorally-based approach to limiting excess weight gain among overweight and obese women during pregnancy as compared to treatment as usual (TAU). Four domains relevant to weight control will be addressed in the intervention: nutrition, exercise, mood and stress management, and sleep. The intervention will be delivered via brief weekly phone calls by lifestyle coaches and weekly Wifi weighings between weeks 16 and 36 of gestation. The TAU group will not receive the telephone and Wifi weighing intervention, or specific feedback from study staff on the course of weight gain during their pregnancies.
Name of Activity: Botswana UPENN Adolescent Obesity Project
Leader/Director/PI: Charlene Compher, PhD
Type of Activity: International Project
Date: From 7/2008 to Present
Brief Description: Faculty members from University of Botswana (Drs Maruapula, Shaibu, Mokone, Malete, and Jackson) requested research collaboration from Penn faculty in late 2007. Dr. Compher is Penn PI, with Nicolas Stettler and Sarah Ratcliffe as collaborators. In 2008, data were collected to describe prevalence and correlates of adolescent obesity in Botswana. Seed funding from Penn URF, University of Botswana Research Fund, and CHOP have supported efforts to date. Manuscripts on the prevalence of obesity, food patterns associated with obesity, and interviews of school personnel are under review.
Name of Activity: Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative
Leader/Director/PI: Danny Gerber and Francis E Johnston
Type of Activity: Community Project, Class/Training, Grant (Various)
Date: From 1991 to Present
Brief Description: AUNI is an ABCS university-community partnership between Penn and West Philadelphia whose goal is improving community nutrition and wellness, addressing the complex problems of poor nutrition, obesity its co-morbidities. AUNI works primarily in schools, with Penn students and faculty and 100 high school student interns applying a problem-solving methodology to a range of hands-on learning activities in and out of class. These include cooking healthy meals, engaging school cafeterias, school and community gardens, and fruit and vegetable stands. Currently, AUNI reaches 10,000 students monthly in 20 public schools.
Website: http://www.upenn.edu/ccp/programs/agatston-urban-nutrition-initiative.html
Name of Activity: Neighborhood Nutrition and Physical Activity Environment and Weight (BEAT-NIK)
Leader/Director/PI: Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant and Training (USDA)
Date: From 5/1/07 to 10/30/11
Brief Description: The primary aim of the research project is to document the association between characteristics of the nutrition and activity environments, dietary behaviors and physical activity among parents of young children, after adjusting for psychosocial and socioeconomic variables. The study builds on an ongoing NIH-funded study that investigates the multilevel correlates of physical activity, nutrition, and obesity in children in forty Seattle and San Diego neighborhoods (Neighborhood Influences on Kids or NIK). We will conduct the Built Environment Assessment Training (BEAT) Institute annually to prepare young investigators and early-career practitioners to use both observational and self-report measures of nutrition and activity environments and related behavioral assessments.
Website: http://www.med.upenn.edu/beat/
Name of Activity: Advancing Measurement and Modeling of Healthy Food and Activity Landscapes
Leader/Director/PI: Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant and Training (USDA)
Date: From 4/1/10 to 3/31/14
Brief Description:
The primary aims of the research project are to use and adopt novel methods to measure and model access to healthy foods and activity environments in an urban area and to engage community members in developing a demonstration project of policy and environmental change to increase access to healthy foods and improved activity environments. We will also complete development of and conduct an advanced training institute to prepare young investigators and early-career practitioners to use both observational and self-report measures of nutrition and activity environments and related behavioral assessments, The Advanced Built Environment Assessment Training (BEAT-Plus) Institute.
Name of Activity: Enhancing Evaluation of Philadelphia CPPW Obesity Initiatives
Leader/Director/PI: Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (CDC)
Date: From 9/16/10 to 3/15/12
Brief Description: We will focus our efforts on two MAPPS interventions: 1) The Healthy Corner Store Initiative, which will engage 1000 small corner stores across the city to sell nutritious foods; 2) School Wellness Councils, which will seek to eliminate unhealthy competitive foods from 200 schools. The CHBR team will lead the collection of environmental measures including NEMS-based food environment assessment of 200 corner stores and Standardized school food environment assessments in 100 K-8 schools. This enhanced evaluation plan achieves synergy across different evaluation components and takes advantage of cross-sectoral collaboration between government, public education, community, and academia.
Name of Activity: Pilot Testing Food Marketing Interventions in Supermarkets
Leader/Director/PI: Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
Date: From 11/01/10 to 1/31/12
Brief Description:
The goal of this project is to prototype feasible, low-cost methods for designing and conducting pilot studies that evaluate the impact of varied in-store marketing strategies on their ability to: 1) increase the sale of healthy children's foods, including fresh produce; 2) decrease the sale of empty calories from energy-dense, low-nutrient children's foods; 3) be profitable, or at minimum cost neutral, to retailers and manufacturers; and 4) improve customer satisfaction/loyalty. This project will also refine and pilot test an observational measure, the Grocery Marketing Environment Assessment, which will be used as an indicator of success in achieving changes in promotion, placement, and products in the in-store environment.
Name of Activity: Perceived Food Environment Study (NEMS-P)
Leader/Director/PI: Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (Abramson Cancer Center/State tobacco funds)
Date: From 9/01/09 to 12/31/12
Brief Description: The purpose of the Perceived Food Environment Study is to develop and validate an instrument to evaluate perceived nutrition environment. Once the instrument is developed, survey completion data from two-hundred individuals residing in the Philadelphia area will be used to ascertain instrument validity. Observed food environment data collected as part of on-going NEMS (Nutrition Environment Measures Survey) assessments in the greater Philadelphia area will also be used in the validation process. Data from this study could elucidate the relationship between observed nutrition environment, perceived nutrition environment and eating behaviors.
Name of Activity: Evaluation of WIC Farmers' Market Coupon Program in Philadelphia
Leader/Director/PI: Amy Hillier, MSW, PhD
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant, Community Project (RWJFHSS)
Date: From 10/10 to 9/11
Brief Description: With the Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger and Dr. Allison Buttenheim. An evaluation of Farmers' Market Coupons (FMCs) among WIC participants in Philadelphia during summer/fall 2009 when TANF and foundation funding increased FMCs to $80/WIC participant. Includes analysis of redemption data and interviews with 160 WIC participants about where they shop and their experience.
Name of Activity: Evaluation of Novel Nonprofit Supermarket in Chester, PA
Leader/Director/PI: Amy Hillier, MSW, PhD
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant, Community Project (CPHI)
Date: From 5/11 to 4/13
Brief Description: With Dr. Marina Barnett (Widener University), baseline study of where Chester PA residents access food. The baseline data will be used to evaluate the impact of a new market to be opened in 2012 by Philabundance. Includes focus groups, door to door interviews and interviews in WIC and SNAP offices, and in-depth interviews about where residents currently shop for food.
Name of Activity: Healthy Weight Program
Leader/Director/PI: Shirley Huang, MD (Medical Director), Jennifer Fassbender (Program Director)
Type of Activity: Weight Management Program (CHOP and external donors)
Date: From 2005 to present
Brief Description: The Healthy Weight Program strives to improve the health and quality of life of children with excess weight by encouraging healthy and sensitive environments and by delivering high quality evidence-based clinical care through a family-based approach, providing clinician education, engaging in research, and building community partnerships and advocacy.
Website:
www.chop.edu/healthyweight
Name of Activity: Treatment Options for type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth TODAY 2: Post Intervention protocol
Leader/Director/PI: L. Katz PI, Terri Lipman co-I
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (NIH-NIDDK)
Date: From 3/1/2011 to 2/28/2013
Brief Description: The TODAY study is a multi-center clinical research study funded by the National Institutes of Health. It will examine the safety and efficacy of three treatments for type 2 diabetes in the pediatric population. TODAY was initiated due to the increase in type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, which itself is linked to the rise in obesity and sedentary behaviors in American youth. TODAY 2 is a follow up of the subjects in the initial study.
Name of Activity: Eating Behaviors Among Weight-Discordant Siblings
Leader/Director/PI: Tanja Kral, PhD
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (NIH/NIDDK)
Date: From 4/1/2008 to 3/31/2013
Brief Description: Using a behavioral genetics design, this study aims to compare eating behaviors of weight-discordant (i.e., normal-weight vs. overweight/obese), same-sex siblings who are between 5 and 12 years of age. The use of a discordant sibling design to study eating behaviors of related children is a unique strategy to control for home environmental influences on eating traits that may contribute to variations in weight status during childhood. Siblings eating behaviors are being studied both in the laboratory (e.g., energy compensation ability, eating in the absence of hunger) and the free-living environment (e.g., habitual dietary intakes and meal patterns).
Name of Activity: Individual Differences in Children's Susceptibility to Overeating
Leader/Director/PI: Tanja Kral, PhD
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (NIH/NIDDK)
Date: From 4/1/2011 to 3/31/2013
Brief Description: The aim of this laboratory study is to test how child weight status and the relative reinforcing value of food (RRVF) interact with aspects of the obesogenic food environment (portion size of palatable foods) to affect energy intake in 8- to 10-year-old children. The RRVF measures how hard children are willing to work to gain access to a preferred food compared to a preferred non-food alternative. Children's RRVF will be assessed using a computerized behavioral choice task.
Name of Activity: African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network
Leader/Director/PI: Shiriki Kumanyika
Type of Activity: National Research Network (RWJF)
Date: From 10/2002 to present
Brief Description: The African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN) is a national collaboration of early, mid-career, and senior scholars, scholars in training, and community research partners dedicated to improving the quality, quantity, and effective translation of research on obesity in African-American communities. Based at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, AACORN includes 70 members and affiliates in 17 states - African Americans as well as others who conduct research in African American communities.
Website:
AACORN | African American Collaborative Obesity Network
Name of Activity: African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network
Leader/Director/PI: Shiriki Kumanyika
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (RWJF)
Date: From 12/1/2007 to 5/31/2012
Brief Description: The primary aim of this research initiative is to understand the nature and variation in food marketing environments (food availability, promotion, products and price) of African American children and families. A series of linked qualitative, community-partnered research studies has been conducted in five US cities. Studies have focused on developing sustainable, community-based solutions to empower individuals/communities to reduce the effects of adverse food marketing and to increase receptivity to marketing of healthier eating and activity patterns.
Name of Activity: CBPR to Improve African American Environmental Contexts for Youth Obesity Prevention
Leader/Director/PI: Shiriki Kumanyika
Type of Activity: Community Project (NICHD)
Date: From 2/28/2009 to 2/28/2013
Brief Description: The overall aim of this project is to facilitate ongoing, cross-learning and cooperative inquiry opportunities designed to identify the community's perceived areas of interest in regards to addressing disparities related obesity, with a particular focus on youth engagement. Youth and adult community members will be engaged in planning and implementing two community-focused, national workshops, in 2011 and 2012, reflecting community priorities for social change.
Name of Activity: Food Prices and Obesity in Black Women
Leader/Director/PI: Shiriki Kumanyika
Type of Activity:Research Project Grant (Aetna Foundation)
Date: From 3/1/2011 to 2/28/2012
Brief Description: The typical food shopping patterns in a sample of African-American women will be studied in order to understand how food prices influence those patterns. An environmental assessment of food prices will be performed by reviewing price variations for selected products at grocery stores and supermarkets within a defined geographical area. Price variations will be analyzed in conjunction with data from study participants to determine how price fits with other considerations. Experiments will assess how African-American women respond to price variations.
Name of Activity: Food Research for African American Market Equity (FRAAME)
Leader/Director/PI: Terri Lipman
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (SON Office of Pracitce and Community Affairs)
Date: From 7/1/2008 to 6/30/2011
Brief Description: The project will examine the ways in which familial decisions regarding food and nutrition are compromised in times of economic strain. The guiding hypothesis is that families facing hardship in any one of these domains will be at increased risk of opting for low-quality, high calorie foods, thereby impeding efforts to prevent child and adult obesity and attendant cardiovascular and metabolic risks.
Name of Activity: Increasing activity in community: Dance for Health
Leader/Director/PI: Terri Lipman
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant, Community Project, Class/Training (UPenn CPHI)
Date: From 7/1/2011 to 6/30/2012
Brief Description: The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Center for Public Health Initiatives will work in collaboration with the Dr. Bernett L. Johnson Jr. Sayre Health Center (SHC) to increase community activity through the design and coordination of monthly dance nights for the Sayre community. As a community partner, SHC is positioned to integrate university resources to directly meet the needs of its patient population, Sayre High School families, and the surrounding community.
Name of Activity: Dyslipidemia and CVD Risk Factors in Pediatric Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
Leader/Director/PI: Sheela N. Magge, MD, MSCE
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (NIH)
Date: From 2007 to 5/31/2012
Brief Description: The study compares metabolic dyslipidemia and cardiovascular risk factors in four groups of adolescents: lean controls, obese insulin-sensitive, obese insulin-resistant, and obese with type 2 diabetes. Measured outcomes include carotid intima-media thickness, brachial reactivity, insulin resistance measured through the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test, adipocytokines such as adiponectin, and lipoprotein subclass analysis. The investigators hope to differentiate the effects of obesity, insulin resistance, and hyperglycemia to understand which factors put adolescents at the highest CVD risk.
Name of Activity: Vitamin D Supplementation and Outcomes in Obese, African-American Adolescents
Leader/Director/PI: Sheela N. Magge, MD, MSCE and Andrea Kelly, MD, MSCE
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (FOCUS, CHOP CPCE, CHOP RAG)
Date: From 5/2011 to 5/2012
Brief Description: This is a pilot clinical trial looking at insulin resistance, CVD risk factors, and muscle function in obese, vitamin D deficient, African American adolescents before and after treatment with either 1,000 IU or 5,000 IU of vitamin D3. Lower 25-OH vitamin D levels have been associated with obesity and insulin resistance, as well as increased CVD mortality in adults. This pilot study in adolescents will be used to gather preliminary data for a future larger randomized control trial in this population.
Name of Activity: Environmental influences on food intake
Leader/Director/PI: Paul Rozin, PhD
Type of Activity: Other, Unfunded research
Date: Present to TBD
Brief Description: We are trying to confirm the finding that a healthy food choice leads to LESS healthy food consumption, and, assuming we find this, looking at the mechanism responsible for this effect. We think it is a form of vicarious consumption.
Name of Activity: Understanding lay concepts of natural, healthy foods and water etc.
Leader/Director/PI: Paul Rozin, PhD
Type of Activity: Other, Unfunded research
Date: Present to TBD
Brief Description:
I am always doing interview/survey work on issues in human food selection. Current areas of interest are the nature of the preference for natural foods, ideas about what makes a food healthy, and resistance to drinking recycled water and preference for bottled water.
Name of Activity: Lifestyle Modification versus Bariatric Surgery for Type 2 Diabetes
Leader/Director/PI: David Sarwer, PhD, Thomas Wadden, PhD, Noel Williams, MD
Type of Activity:
Research Project Grant (NIH)
Date: From 9/20/2009 to 8/31/2011
Brief Description:
To compare improvements in diabetes control in obese diabetic individuals who are assigned by chance to one of three groups: 1) Roux-en-Y gastric bypass; 2) laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding; or 3) intensive non-surgical weight management. In addition, the project will study the level of acceptance of surgical treatment of type 2 diabetes among physicians, health care providers, and insurance companies.
Website: http://www.solidtrial.info
Name of Activity: Changes in Sexual Function Following Bariatric Surgery
Leader/Director/PI: David Sarwer, PhD
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (NIH)
Date: From 10/1/05 to 8/31/2011
Brief Description: To investigate changes in sexual function, sex hormones, body image, and marital functioning in 120 LABS participants and compare them with responses in 120 extremely obese individuals who do not undergo bariatric surgery.
Website: http://www.niddklabs.org
Name of Activity: Dietary Intake and Eating Behavior in Adolescents who Undergo Bariatric Surgery
Leader/Director/PI: David Sarwer, PhD
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (NIH)
Date: From 7/1/08 to 6/30/13
Brief Description:
To investigate changes in dietary intake and eating behavior in Teen-LABS participants and compare them with responses in obese adolescents treated with a lifestyle modification program.
Website: http://www.niddklabs.org
Name of Activity: Controlled Longitudinal Study of Psychosocial Development
Leader/Director/PI: David Sarwer, PhD
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (NIH)
Date: From 7/1/08 to 6/30/12
Brief Description:
To investigate changes in psychosocial development and status in adolescents who undergo bariatric surgery.
Name of Activity: Bone Health of Obese Adolescents During Weight Loss
Leader/Director/PI: Nicolas Stettler, MD, MSCE
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (NIH)
Date: From 7/1/2008 to 6/30/2012
Name of Activity: Formative Research to Develop an Intervention to Prevent Adolescent Obesity in Botswana
Leader/Director/PI: Nicolas Stettler, MD, MSCE
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (CHOP)
Date: From 7/1/2008 to 6/30/2011
Name of Activity: PSCI/HSOC Politics of Food and Agriculture, an academically based community service (ABCS) class for undergraduates
Leader/Director/PI: Mary Summers
Type of Activity: Community Project, Class/Training
Date: Every fall semester
Brief Description: Curriculum addresses politics and institutions that shape food/ag environment. Placements include work with SNAP enrollment campaign, Urban Nutrition Initiative, Bon Appetit, community school programs including Recess Initiative.
Name of Activity: PSCI/HSOC 335 Healthy Schools: Community Based Participatory Research, Planning and Action
Leader/Director/PI: Mary Summers
Type of Activity: Community Project, Class/Training
Date: Every spring semester
Brief Description: Curriculum addresses debates shaping academic, climate and health reform efforts in urban schools. Placements with Playworks, Recess Initiative, Urban Nutrition Initiative, Community Schools, City Step.
Name of Activity: Magnesium and the Metabolic Syndrome Trial
Leader/Director/PI: Stella L. Volpe, PhD
Type of Activity: Research Project Grant (NIH/NIDDK)
Date: From 2008 to 2011
Brief Description: The goal of this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study is to evaluate if 360 mg of magnesium glycinate will prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus in individuals who are magnesium deficient with the metabolic syndrome. The main outcome measure is insulin sensitivity via Frequently Sampled Intravenous Glucose Tolerance Test (FSIVGTT).

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