Bentley receives funding for high-risk pediatric obesity intervention trial

RO1 approved to utilize innovative methods to reach minority populations


The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has awarded approximately $3 million, over the next five years, to Margaret (Peggy) Bentley, professor at Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Nutrition at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), for her study Mothers and Others: Family-based Obesity Prevention for Infants and Toddlers.


This efficacy trial will target the mothers and families of non-Hispanic black infants, a minority population at high risk for pediatric obesity, through a multi-component, tailored intervention.


“We are thrilled that the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has committed five years of funding to our proposed intervention,” said Bentley. “We designed this intervention based upon data from our previous observational study, the Infant Care Project, where we showed among first-time, non-Hispanic black mother-infant dyads in North Carolina that obesity and its risk factors emerge very early in the first two years of life.”


Bentley’s work with UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health as well as in Baltimore, Peru, Malawi, and India have also provided her with a solid understanding of the factors that influence how, when and what infants are fed. Bentley’s study recognizes that multiple caregivers, not just the mother, influence feeding and optimal growth and development.  The intervention is therefore taking a family approach.


Mothers and Others will utilize innovative techniques, including media technologies, to reach mothers, their families and other caregivers from pregnancy through infancy. The goal is to promote healthy behaviors that Bentley predicts will have a positive impact on the child.


“If successful in promoting healthy infant growth and enhancing caregiver health behaviors, Mothers and Others will have high public health relevance for future obesity-prevention efforts aimed at children less than two years, including national , state and community health programs,” Bentley said.


The award of approximately $3 million is distributed between $2 million direct costs and over $1 million in facilities and administrative costs.


The Center for Women’s Health Research at UNC (CWHR) assisted Bentley with the research proposal submission and will now support her through the administration of the awarded funds.


The mission of CWHR is to improve women’s health through research by focusing on diseases, disorders and conditions that affect women only, women predominately, and/or women differently than men. Current areas of research targeted by the Center include perinatal health, cancers affecting women, obesity, diabetes, women’s cardiovascular health, women’s mental health and substance abuse. CWHR provides support from proposal submission through award administration while providing team building and career development resources.


Mothers and Others: Family-based Obesity Prevention for Infants and Toddlers is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HD073237. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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