Family Resiliency Center | Illinois


STRONG Kids 2: A Cells-to-Society Approach to Nutrition

Overview | Research Team | Family Resiliency | Funding Partners | Contact

Are you an expectant mom in the East Central Illinois area and interested in learning more about participating?

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Project Overview

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 interaction between biological and environmental factors in predicting eating habits, including milk and dairy consumption, from birth.  The project is supported by the Dairy Research Institute with a $1M grant over five years. 

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 measure such as maternal height and weight are also being collected. 

The project is part of the larger STRONG Kids Program based at the Family Resiliency Center and housed in Doris Kelley Christopher Hall.  STRONG Kids 2 is built upon previous research with preschool aged children, documenting the relationship among genetic, child, and family factors in predicting BMI and dietary habits. 

Research Team

  • Barbara Fiese, PhD, Professor and Director, Family Resiliency Center
  • Kelly Bost, PhD, Assoc. Professor, Human and Community Development (HCD)
  • Sharon Donovan, PhD, Professor, Food Science & Human Nutrition (FSHN)
  • Soo-Yeun Lee, PhD, Food Science & Human Nutrition (FSHN)
  • Brent McBride, PhD, Professor, HCD, and Director, Child Development Laboratory
  • Margarita Teran-Garcia, PhD, Asst. Professor, FSHN

Family Resiliency Center

The STRONG* Kids Program is a comprehensive approach to the study of childhood obesity and health within an ecological framework. It is housed at the Family Resiliency Center, a research center dedicated to advancing knowledge and practices that strengthen families’ abilities to meet life’s challenges and thrive. The Center accomplishes this through research, outreach, and education centered on four themes: Child and Family Health and Wellbeing, Child Care as a Resource, Immigrant Families and their Children, and Positive Child and Youth Development.

*Synergistic Theory and Research on Obesity and Nutrition Group


Child measurement

Funding Partners

  • The Dairy Research Institute
  • Family Resiliency Center
  • Christopher Family Foundation
  • College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Human and Community Development
  • Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition


  • Obesity Across the Lifespan Symposium
  • STRONG Kids 2 Blog
  • Contact Information

    Jen Themanson, Project Coordinator
    Telephone: 217-244-5119

    FRC Themes