Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease and it is estimated that six million children are currently vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is even more common in northern latitudes, amongst some minority groups with darker skin pigmentation, and in those who are overweight or obese. In these groups, higher supplemental doses may be needed to maintain optimal serum levels and to prevent cardiovascular risk.
Nutrition Interventions, Communication, and Behavior Change
Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Shape Up Somerville: Eat Smart. Play Hard. was a 3-year (2002-2005), environmental change intervention designed to prevent obesity in culturally diverse, high-risk, early-elementary school children. Led by Dr. Christina Economos (N96), the Shape Up team developed and implemented strategies designed to create energy balance for 1st-3rd graders in Somerville. In before-, during-, and after-school environments, interventions were focused on increasing the number of physical activity options available to children throughout the day and on improving dietary choices.
In 1999, Dr. Miriam Nelson founded the Center for Physical Fitness within the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, under the guidance and support of Dean Irwin Rosenberg. The Center, while initially small, had big goals – to improve the physical activity patterns and fitness of Americans.
StrongWomen envisions a diverse community of women who are fit, strong, and healthy; in turn these empowered women become agents of change for their families, communities, and beyond.
Jennifer Sacheck's research interests lie at the intersection of nutrition, physical activity, and health promotion. She was initially drawn to this field through her early studies in muscle physiology and more recently through obesity and chronic disease prevention research which has spanned basic science to community-based work.
Sara Folta's research interests focus on public health nutrition, or the utilization of community-based strategies for improving dietary intake, physical activity, and body composition. She has particular expertise in behavioral psychology, communications, and qualitative methods. A major line of Folta's research involves community-based interventions to improve heart health among women. A second area of research includes behavioral strategies to improve health and well-being among older adults, particularly through the development of physical activity interventions.
Dr. Goldberg has worked on obesity and chronic disease prevention interventions since 1995 when she was principal investigator on a school-based intervention in Independence, Missouri and co-investigator on Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better, an obesity prevention campaign for African American women. She was co-investigator on the Bones Project to prevent osteoporosis through early intervention, Shape Up Somerville, a CDC-funded obesity prevention program for elementary school children and their families, and on a replication of that project.
Current childhood obesity statistics are dramatic and worrisome. Today's children may live shorter lives than their parents – a first in this nation’s history. Over the past 40 years, rates of obesity have doubled in 2- to 5-year-olds, quadrupled in 6- to 11-year-olds, and tripled in 12- to 19-year-olds. The causes of obesity are complex and interconnected. The environment created by culture, societal norms, community assets, and practices within the home all influence a child’s ability to make healthy choices and, ultimately, affect his or her weight status.
Christina Economos, PhD, is a Professor and the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Medical School at Tufts University. She is also the co-Founder and Director of ChildObesity180, a unique organization that brings together leaders from diverse disciplines to generate urgency, and find solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic. ChildObesity180 merges the best in nutrition and public health research and practice with the expertise and experience of business, government, and nonprofit leaders.
Required of Post-Doctoral and Training Grant Fellows. The grading basis for this course is Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.