Stemming the Tide of Childhood Obesity

Overweight afflicts one third of all U.S. children and adolescents, and the prevalence of early life risk factors and obesity are disproportionately greater among disadvantaged children. Onset of obesity in children within the first 5 years alters the trajectory of life-long chronic illness. The poor eating and physical activity behaviors that fuel obesity take root early in childhood are difficult to undo. Overcoming barriers to prevent obesity promoting behaviors are more complex in disadvantaged families. Reliable assessments suggest that childhood obesity is due to lack of access to healthy food and physical activity platforms, and lack of awareness of healthy eating and activity recommendations.

Training competitive nutrition scientists from underrepresented backgrounds in 21st Century skills to stem the tide of childhood obesity

The number of minority professionals trained in nutrition and related professions remains low. Professional caregivers often lack knowledge and cultural sensitivity about diet, lifestyle patterns and challenges of minority populations. Increasing the number of trained minority professionals will aid in developing more effective interventions that promote healthy dietary and physical activity behaviors to decrease risk for childhood overweight and obesity in minorities. The objective of this MSP proposal is to recruit four minority Scholars to the OSU undergraduate Human Nutrition (HN) program, nurture their academic development via intensive mentoring, research and outreach experiences, and enrichment activities. This program will enhance competitiveness of MSP students for admission and success in post-baccalaureate professional and graduate programs. Partnership with the Office of Minority Affairs and Columbus State Community College will enhance our ability to recruit and retain highly motivated minority students.

Participating MSP Faculty & Staff

  • Mark Failla, PhD (Project Director (PD))
  • Martha Belury, PhD, RD (co-PD)
  • Jackie Goodway, PhD (co-PD)
  • Carolyn Gunther, PhD (co-PD)
  • Joyce McDowell, MS (co-PD)
  • Hugo Melgar-Quinonez, PhD (co-PD)
  • Robert Murray, MD (co-PD)
  • Merideth Sellars, MS (co-PD)


OSU Office of Minority Affairs
102 Bricker Hall
190 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210

Columbus State Community College

Program Sponsor

United States Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture