Extension, nursing researcher team up to battle obesity

Michigan State University Extension and a researcher in the College of Nursing are teaming up after being awarded $3.3 million to fund a program that helps low-income obese mothers improve their lives with healthier eating and reduced stress.

The new intervention program, Mothers in Motion, funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to improve health by teaching overweight or obese mothers how to eat well, be active and how to deal with stress. Researcher Dr. Mei-Wei Chang will partner with two community-based programs: the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and MSU Extension.

“To have a broad impact on obesity in our state, these partners have joined forces to address the underlying issues that cause weight gain in our target audience of young, low-income, overweight and obese mothers,” Chang said.

It is a great collaboration between Extension and the nursing college, and tackles one of the state’s most pressing problems. And the results from the program will be shared statewide and nationwide to help mothers in other cities and other states as they battle obesity.

The study will enroll 465 young, low-income, overweight or obese mothers 18 to 39 years old from four local WIC programs in the city of Detroit; and Calhoun, Genesee and Jackson counties. Educational interactive DVDs will be distributed, and Extension educators will lead phone discussions during which participants encourage each other’s progress.

Once Mothers in Motion has been studied in Michigan, the program will be disseminated nationally through WIC, MSU Extension and other community-based programs that promote healthy eating and physical activity.

The five-year study is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, part of the National Institutes of Health. It builds on findings of a previous NIH grant that enrolled 129 participants in a 10-week intervention.


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