Colorado State University and Colorado University are collaborating on an upcoming study on childhood obesity.

The team, headed by Laura Bellows of CSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, will receive about $5 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Healthy Environments Study, or HEROs.

“Our aim is to help families learn what is most helpful to create a healthy, active family, and then give them tools they can use at home,” Bellows said. “The trick is understanding the home environment and family dynamics around food and activity well enough so that we create tools that are helpful and fit the lives of our families.”

Childhood obesity, diabetes and other weight related issues are approaching concerning levels, so this study hopes to pinpoint the problems and propose solutions.

As you can see in the video, more than just the desire to move affects the amount that we move overall. Confidence plays a role, as does general comfort with movement. If you didn't move a lot as a child, your desire to do so as an adult may be stunted.

The goal is to create an intervention that helps parents connect these dots. And since it is a multi-faceted intervention, Bellows emphasizes the need for expertise in a variety of areas, including child feeding and nutrition, motor development, physical activity, technology, child development, psychology, pediatrics and more.

“To be successful, we need collaboration from multiple departments and several universities,” Bellows said. “There is no way one department could tackle a project of this scope on their own. This is truly a multidisciplinary team science effort.”