STRONG Kids 2: A Cells to Society Approach to Nutrition


Using a cells-to-society approach to nutrition, this transdisciplinary project will provide unique insights into how individual biology interacts with the family environment to promote healthy eating habits in young children. It is one of the first studies to take a longitudinal look at the habits, including milk and dairy consumption, from birth. STRONG Kids 2 is built upon previous research from STRONG Kids 1 with preschool-aged children, documenting the relationship among genetic, child, and family factors in predicting BMI and dietary habits. The study sample includes 400 infants and their families located in small urban communities in central Illinois. Biological samples and height and weight measurements from infants and toddlers are collected at 6 weeks, 4, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months. Mothers are surveyed about weaning, dietary habits, household routines, children’s emotions, feeding styles, and milk and dairy consumption. Additional measures such as maternal height and weight are also being collected.

Downloadable Overview

STRONG Kids 2 Overview PDF

Research Team

  • Barbara Fiese, PhD, Project Co-Director, Family Resiliency Center Director, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD, Project Co-Director, Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Kelly Bost, PhD, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Soo-Yeun Lee, PhD, Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Brent McBride, PhD, Director, Child Development Lab, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Margarita Teran-Garcia, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition


The project is supported by the National Dairy Council with a $1M grant over five years.


Jennifer Themanson
Project Coordinator
Phone: 217-244-5119