To date, however, there is minimal available evidence on the nature, extent, and characteristics of these approaches. Moreover, there is almost no evidence on the extent to which these policies and practices vary across districts/schools with differing resources and/or in communities with differing socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.
The Food and Fitness project will begin to fill these gaps by collecting and reporting comprehensive information on food environments and student physical activity in a nationally representative sample of elementary (K-5) schools, as well as comprehensive information on district-level wellness and other policies that potentially impact childhood obesity.
This research will be conducted as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Bridging the Gap's (BTG) program's ImpacTeen project, and will build on BTG's ongoing YES survey of middle and high school administrators and the program's research on the impact of policy and environmental issues on adolescent obesity.
FRANK J. CHALOUPKA, PhD (UIC)
Dr. Chaloupka is a professor of economics in the department of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Business Administration. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research Health Economics Program. He received his doctorate in economics from the City University of New York Graduate School in 1988. Dr. Chaloupka's research focuses on the economic analysis of substance use and abuse, primarily among youth and young adults. He has conducted extensive research on the effects of prices and substance control policies on the demands for tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs, and on related outcomes. Dr. Chaloupka has published over 25 articles in such journals as the Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Review, Journal of Health Economics, Economic Inquiry, Eastern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Journal, and Contemporary Economic Policy; and numerous book chapters and working papers.
JAMIE CHRIQUI, PhD (UIC)
Jamie F. Chriqui, Ph.D., M.H.S. is a Senior Research Scientist in the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has over 17 years' experience conducting public health policy research, evaluation, and analysis, with an emphasis on substance abuse, tobacco control and, most recently, obesity policy-related issues. Dr. Chriqui has led a number of efforts to develop quantitative measures of the extensiveness of state and local level public health policies. She is routinely called upon to deliver training sessions and presentations on methods for researching and evaluating public health policies. For the ImpacTeen project, she currently leads the state obesity and tobacco control policy components and she has led the state illicit drug law and substance abuse treatment policy research efforts. Dr. Chriqui also is co-director (with Dr. Lindsey Turner) of the RWJF-funded Food and Fitness project, which examines obesity-related policies and practices in a nationwide sample of elementary schools and school districts. Dr. Chriqui is leading the wellness policy component of the related Food & Fitness study to systematically collect and analyze wellness policies from a nationally representative sample of school districts throughout the U.S. Prior to joining UIC, Dr. Chriqui served as Technical Vice-President of the Center for Health Policy and Legislative Analysis at The MayaTech Corporation and, previously, as a policy analyst at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
EUNA HAN, PhD (UIC)
Euna Han, PhD, is
a post-doctoral fellow in the Institute for Health Research and Policy
at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She received her doctorate
in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill in 2006. Dr. Han is a health economist whose research focuses
on the economics of obesity. Particularly, she conducts various studies
investigating the effect of obesity on labor market outcomes, including
hourly wages, wealth accumulation, or employability. Most of her current
work focuses on empirically identifying economic reasons for the association
of obesity and labor market outcomes. She also conducts several studies
investigating the economic determinant of obesity, and the societal burden
PUNAM OHRI-VACHASPATI, RD, PhD (UIC)
Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, Ph.D., R.D. is a visiting fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers University. Her work focuses on childhood obesity and the influence of food and physical activity related environments. Ohri-Vachaspati is on leave from the Ohio State University Extension where she is an Assistant Professor. Prior to joining the Ohio State University, Ohri-Vachaspati worked as a consultant on a number of US Agency for International Development funded projects analyzing national surveys related to nutritional assessment of populations.
LISA POWELL, PhD (UIC)
Lisa Powell, PhD, is a Senior Research Scientist in the Institute for Health Research and Policy and a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Powell has extensive experience as an applied micro-economist in the empirical analysis of the effects of public policy on a series of behavioral outcomes. As Director of the RWJF funded ImpacTeen Youth Obesity
Research Team and as PI on a NRI USDA funded project that examines the importance of economic, lifestyle and social influences on obesity much of her current research is on assessing the importance of economic and environmental factors (such as food prices and access to food stores, eating places, and parks, gyms and other facilities for physical activity) on food consumption and physical activity behaviors and as determinants of BMI and the prevalence of obesity. Dr. Powell's research also examines school-level food and fitness policies and the association of school meal participation and children's weight status. In other health-related work, Dr. Powell's work has examined the importance of peer and parental influences on teen smoking, while other studies have highlighted the role of prices and public policies with regard to alcohol use among college students and educational and violence-related outcomes.
ANNA SANDOVAL, MPH (UIC)
Anna Sandoval is a research specialist for ImpacTeen. She received her master of public health degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999. She has worked extensively on the ImpacTeen project overseeing community field data collection, including defining ImpacTeen communities, identifying local jurisdictions, and managing community information databases. Ms. Sandoval has worked on the ImpacTeen SmokeLess States Evaluation project coordinating and analyzing the legislative database. She has worked with the Centers for Disease Control Prevention Centers Tobacco Network and the State and Community Partnerships as project coordinator. Currently, Ms. Sandoval is working on the Food and Fitness project overseeing survey data collection and analyzing school district policies. Her research interests include youth ATOD, health education and promotion, health policy, and obesity and physical activity.
SANDY SLATER, PhD (UIC)
Sandy Slater, PhD, Senior Research Specialist at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), is a health policy analyst whose research focuses on the impact of state and local policies, and other environmental factors on health behavior. Since joining UIC, Dr. Slater has examined state and local policies, socioeconomic, geographic and store type variation in tobacco and alcohol retail marketing strategies and their association to youth smoking and drinking attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. More recently, Dr. Slater is investigating the impact of socioeconomic and other environmental factors on physical activity and obesity. Specifically, she conducts research aimed at understanding factors in the environment that provide opportunities, and those that constrain, the ability for individuals to be physically active. Her research has included examining the relationship between the availability of outdoor physical activity-related settings and commercial physical activity-related outlets on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, as well as on youth physical activity behavior and overweight. Her National Institutes of Health-funded research examines the importance of school and community physical activity settings and opportunities on youth physical activity levels, overweight and obesity. She also developed a guide that inventories existing obesity-related data sources, identifies what factors are currently being measured, and what is missing from existing sources to determine what measures should be developed for future research.
LINDSEY TURNER, PhD (UIC)
Dr. Lindsey Turner is a health psychologist and a Research Scientist at the Institute for Health Research and Policy. Dr. Turner's research background includes work on a number of health promotion projects aimed at children, families, and communities, in the areas of skin cancer prevention, tobacco control, nutrition and physical activity. Dr. Turner has a background in health behavior theory, school-based survey and intervention projects, and program evaluation. Dr. Turner currently leads the elementary school data collection efforts for the RWJF-funded Bridging the Gap program, which examines obesity-related policies and practices in schools across the nation.