Including researchers across many disciplines, STRONG Kids 1 is a comprehensive approach to the study of childhood obesity and health. The program examines how genetic, family, community, child care, cultural, and media factors contribute to the development of childhood weight imbalance, obesity, health behaviors, and health beliefs. Ultimately, findings will serve as the basis for obesity prevention and intervention programs. This program also provides extensive opportunities for undergraduate students to be involved in a large-scale research effort. Student teams deliver surveys at child care centers; collect height, weight and saliva samples from children; participate in home observations, and assist in data entry. Throughout the project, undergraduate students will complete background readings and literature searches and gain experience in project coordination.

Downloadable Overview

STRONG Kids 1 Overview PDF

Research Team

Principal Investigators

  • Barbara Fiese, PhD, Director, Family Resiliency Center, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Kristen Harrison, PhD, Professor, Communication Studies, University of Michigan
  • Kelly Bost, PhD, Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Brent McBride, PhD, Director, Child Development Lab, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD, Professor, Nutritional Sciences


Project Coordinator


STRONG Kids 1 is generously supported by the following:

  • Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR), Sentinel Program Seed Grant
  • Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), Bureau of Child Care and Development
  • Office of the Provost, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois
  • Family Resiliency Center, University of Illinois
  • Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois
  • Department of Communication, University of Illinois
  • Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois
  • School of Social Work, University of Illinois
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Jen Themanson
Project Coordinator
Phone: 217-244-5119