For the first time in history, children in the United States may have a lower life expectancy than their parents due to the increased incidence of obesity and its associated health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. In addition, children who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from depression and low self-esteem hindering academic and social functioning that can persist into adulthood.
Obesity prevention is a high priority area for research development at ACCORDS that will receive a boost from the new Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado. Dr. Christina Suh is working with Dr. James Hill, Director of the NIH-funded Center for Human Nutrition and future Director of the Health and Wellness Center, to develop a number of obesity prevention and treatment programs aimed at preschool and school-aged children. Dr. Suh recently completed a study examining parental perceptions of their child's weight status and pilot tested an intervention aimed at changing parental perceptions in low-income, primarily latino families. She is currently launching a project based at Colorado Headstart programs that is aimed at preventing obesity in preschool children by teaching culturally relevant cooking and educational classes to low-income, latina mothers.