Healthy Eating Research is proud to announce the funding of nine new research teams funded under our 2018 annual call for proposals. The call for proposals sought studies focused on policy, systems, and environmental strategies with strong potential to improve children’s physical, socioemotional, and/or cognitive health and well-being through nutritious foods and beverages. The target age groups were infants, children, and adolescents (ages 0 to 18) and their families. All studies funded under this call were required to have the potential to impact groups at highest risk for poor health and well-being, and nutrition and weight-related disparities.

These are the first annual round grants awarded following the expansion of HER’s focus in 2018 to improving dietary intake and eating patterns that impact a wide variety of children’s short-term and long-term health outcomes, including, but not limited to, healthy weight and obesity prevention.

We look forward to working with these teams and sharing the results of their projects.


Developing and evaluating the effectiveness of pictorial health warnings on sugar-sweetened beverages to overcome language and literacy barriers

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Marissa Hall, PhD, and Lindsey Smith Taillie, PhD

Focusing on Latino populations, this project aims to design pictorial health warnings on sugary drinks and evaluate their impact on purchasing behavior. This project’s long-term goal is to inform policies that can improve diet, prevent obesity, and ultimately prevent type 2 diabetes and other cardiometabolic diseases among Latino children.

Conducting a large-scale surveillance of public school environments to advance wellness-related practices, with a focus on rural schools

Boise State University, Lindsey Turner, PhD

This project will survey public elementary schools, gathering information about their food and fitness practices. Its aims are to examine changes in school practices between 2013-14 and 2019-20, and identify the unique strengths and challenges in rural schools.

Studying the Community Eligibility Provision’s broad impact–on child nutrition, health, academics, school attendance, and family food security

University of Connecticut, Tatiana Andreyeva, PhD

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs aims to increase school meal participation and improve food security among at-risk children, by allowing the provision of universal free meals in high poverty schools. This study aims to provide a timely, nationwide assessment of the multiple impacts of the CEP on low-resource communities.

Promoting responsive bottle-feeding practices among Women, Infants, and Children mothers to reduce infants’ rapid weight gain and obesity

Public Health Foundation Enterprises Inc., Shannon Whaley, PhD, and Alison Ventura, PhD, CLEC

To-date, few studies focus on promoting healthy feeding practices for bottle-feeding caregivers. This study aims to develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to promote responsive bottle-feeding practices among WIC mothers, and examine the impact of these strategies on WIC program retention at 12 months of age.

Examining state-level strategies to implement child-care licensing regulations on healthy eating, physical activity, and screen time for children

President and Fellows of Harvard College, Erica Kenney, ScD, MPH

This study aims to fill a gap in understanding how states support child care providers in implementing licensing regulations related to healthy nutrition, physical activity, and screen time practices, to help translate such policies into effective action. The study will include the identification of state strategies to help with implementation, as well as barriers and supports to successful implementation.

Studying the impact on children’s nutrition and health of participation in, and how to increase access to, multiple safety-net programs

Johns Hopkins University, Alyssa Moran, ScD, MPH, RD

Federal income, food, and housing support programs reduce the prevalence and intensity of poverty, but their combined effects on nutrition and health are not well understood. The proposed research examines the incremental and combined impact of participation in two programs, SNAP and housing assistance, by applying novel quasi-experimental methods to two national datasets.

Studying the impact of ecological momentary interventions on sugary-beverage consumption by children through age 2 in low-income families

Columbia University, Jennifer Woo Baidal, MD, MPH

The overall goal of this study is to test mobile technology-based ecologic momentary interventions (EMIs) to deliver policy-relevant health messages among families living in Washington Heights, a low-income New York City neighborhood with high prevalence of childhood obesity. The proposed research will result in new avenues for reaching families in future interventions to promote healthy beverage intake during the first 1,000 days.

Analyzing the Progressive and Regressive Impacts of Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

University of Washington, Jessica Jones-Smith, PhD, MPH, RD and James Krieger, MD, MPH

Sugary drink taxes have emerged as an important policy solution to promote diet quality and healthy weight, however concerns about equity have been raised given the regressive nature of excise taxes. This study aims to explore the nature and extent of tax payment regressivity, as well as the overall economic impacts of these taxes.

Studying the impact of financial incentives at point of purchase on low-income consumers’ purchase of healthy food and, subsequently, on family health

University of Pennsylvania, Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH

The goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of financial incentives delivered in real-time at the point of purchase on low-income consumers’ purchase of fruits and vegetables, fruit and vegetable consumption, diet quality, and weight/BMI. Study participants will be SNAP-participating or SNAP-eligible adults with children ages 2-17 living in the home.