The University of Nebraska Medical Center received a $2.8 million grant to study physical activity of rural youth. Dr. David Dzewaltowski is the principal investigator of the grant and with UNMC’s College of Public Health says would like rural Nebraska communities to help promote physical activity.
Dr. Dzewaltowski says, “The project is going to focus on helping communities decide what’s going on in their communities and how they can create more options in their communities for kids. The primary thing that’s changed is we live our lives differently. So the social context or the people we interact with in the places we interact with throughout the day in our communities really determine how we eat and how active we are as children and adults.”
This is a five year National Cancer Institute grant that will study how rural communities can provide physical activities for youth. They are partnering with health departments throughout the state to recruit communities into the study, Four Corners Health Department, York and Southeast Heath Department, Auburn have already signed up. Together with UNMC they will design ways that physical activity opportunities can be integrated into schools, after school programs, scouting and youth sport settings. They will use video observation paired with accelerometers, like a pedometer, to measure the child’s physical activity while program changes are being made.
Studies show that since the 1970’s, the obesity rate has quadrupled among youth in the U.S.