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A researcher studying families at the Family Resiliency Center

Research, Practice, Policy: Building, Translating & Disseminating the Evidence Base

The Family Resiliency Center at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign is home to cutting-edge research, education, and outreach initiatives that enrich the well-being of children, youth, families, and communities. Discover some of our projects below.

students at desk looking at notebook and computer

Building capacity, one toolbox at a time: A pair of recent awards promote community-campus collaboration through youth participatory action research

Mental health struggles, body image issues, incidents of bullying—these are just some of the topics that groups of high school students in Champaign-Urbana and Danville, Ill., are currently exploring as their collective research interest.
A research assistant of the STRONG Kids 2 project conducts a height measurement

STRONG Kids 2: A Cells to Society Approach to Nutrition

The Synergistic Theory and Research on Nutrition and Obesity Group (STRONG) Kids program explores 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 eating habits from a child's birth.
A group of children around a table in a classroom or child care setting

CACFP Food Program and Family Child Care Study

This research project aims to identify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and policies and procedures of the Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that impact family child care providers’ access to the program.
A bowl with oranges, nuts, strawberries, rasberries, and blueberries in it, with a fork to the right

Understanding Nutritional Challenges of People Who Have Experienced Cancer

This project is working to identify the role that food security plays in cancer survivorship and how people with a history of cancer prioritize their nutrition and food needs.
Two little girls playing with building blocks at a table

Environmental Risks in the Context of Family Child Care

This study seeks to characterize the environmental hazards present in family child settings and to help child care providers understand steps they can take to protect the health of children in their care.
Three children near a kitchen table with tomatoes and a pepper and bowl around them

Indoor Air, Diet Quality and Child Health

This project will investigate how diet quality, antioxidant intake, or weight status modify relationships between particulate matter and inflammation in children.
A child at the dinner table, turned away from his plate of food and looking grumpy

Mealtime Strategies for Picky Eating Behaviors of Toddlers in Center- and Home-based Day Care Settings

This study compared child mealtime behavior between their home and child care location, with different mealtime strategies used by caregivers and parents to identify which strategies worked across different settings.
Group of students smiling

Illinois Neurodiversity Initiative (INI)

Illinois Neurodiversity Initiative (INI) is a developing program for admitted University of Illinois students on the spectrum or who identify with other neurodivergent conditions that affect academic and social performance.
A little boy looking at the camera with a science object for school in front of him

Establishing a Community-Based Curriculum Materials Collaborative for Health Justice Science Education

This project will establish a Collaborative that will ultimately work toward adapting K-12 science curriculum materials to focus on health justice issues relevant to communities in Champaign County.
A teacher and students working together on the SPROUTS curriculum

SPROUTS Growing Healthy Habits Project and Curriculum

This evidence-based healthy habits curriculum was developed for use with children ages 4 to 7. Each lesson focuses on a specific topic and includes a discussion guide, a hands-on activity, and an interactive book reading.
Individuals involved with the JUS Media Programme at Illinois

JUS Media? Programme: Food-Focused Media Literacy for Jamaican Families

This research project aims to combat the impact of US cable/media on eating habits in Jamaica by teaching youth and parents to question the health messages embedded in food advertising.
A child looking at the camera, waiting for his food at a table

Feeding Kids in Care

The Feeding Kids in Care project examined program operations and administration and the benefits of the Child and Adult Care Food Program participation of young children and early-care and education professionals.
A child being weighed by research assistants for a research project

Food & Family Program

The Food and Family Program by the Christopher Family Foundation built positive connections between food and family life to promote healthy eating, preserve family traditions, and build stronger relationships, with an emphasis on children and youth.
An infant crawling on the floor with a few toys around him

Children's Environmental Health Center's Community Outreach and Translation Core

This project served as the organizing hub of information and emerging knowledge about the lasting health effects on the developing infant, child, and adolescent that may come from exposures to everyday chemicals, combined with diets high in processed foods.
Several people in a classroom with several students raising their hand and an instructor up front

Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Research Sciences (TOPRS)

This project developed an integrated transdisciplinary curriculum for undergraduate students on the causes and consequences of childhood obesity. The curriculum can be folded into an existing advanced research methods, practicum, service learning, or special topics course.
Student researchers checking the records of a child study participant

Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program (I-TOPP)

This innovative Ph.D./MPH degree program had a focus on obesity prevention as well as child health and well-being.
A black and white photo of a child, who looks sad

An Evaluation of the Backpack Program in East Central Illinois

The Backpack Program was designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources were not available, such as on the weekends and during school vacations. This project looked at three key questions about the program.
A little girl pretending like she is eating corn on the cob

Out of School and Summer Feeding Program Evaluation

The goal of this evaluation project was to identify effective dynamic practices of after-school and summer feeding programs in order to ensure that children are provided with nutritious meals year round.
A little girl sitting at a table, eating, with others around her

Hunger-free Summer Hub Evaluation

This project was a cross-site evaluation of an initiative that sought to determine how food banks could strategically partner with organizations in their community to increase access to, and participation in, summer feeding programs.
An infant girl feeding a baby milk in a bottle

Dietary and Microbial Predictors of Childhood Obesity Risk

This project investigates the relationship between infants who were fed a combination of breast milk and formula and their risk for obesity.
A woman feeding a baby with a spoon

Protective Parents Project

This subproject covered the environmental, relational, biological, and behavioral characteristics related to child and family health in the first two years of life.
Two researchers in the Abriendo Caminos project

Abriendo Caminos: Clearing the Path to Hispanic Health

Abriendo Caminos established and contributed to obesity prevention interventions for Hispanic-heritage families, specifically focusing on low-income and low-literacy individuals.
A researcher at the Family Resiliency Center pointing to a board with information

The Pathways Project (Proyecto Caminos): Youth, Programs, and Parents

This study bridged the gap between research and practice with the objective of understanding the pathways of youth development in ways that were directly helpful to youth programs.
Several children playing on a toy outside in a child care setting, with a swing set in the background

Illinois Early Childhood Activity Program (I-CAP)

This project advanced physical activity research by developing models of physical activity measurements for preschool children, which can be used in natural environments.
Family members eating at the dinner table

Project DINE

This project brought together researchers from several departments at the University of Illinois to study how family mealtimes relate to child and family health.
Two research assistants measuring a child's height

STRONG Kids 1

Varied researchers in the STRONG Kids 1 project examined how genetic, family, community, child care, cultural, and media factors contribute to the development of childhood weight imbalance, obesity, health behaviors, and health beliefs.
A mother putting down a dish on the dinner table as her family gets ready to eat

Gene—Microbiome—Environment Interactions

This project sought to understand how genetics, the gut microbiome, and the environment interact in affecting children's self-regulation, parental feeding practices, and family relationships at the dinner table.
A family of four on the bed with a small girl taking a picture of the parents and baby

Follow Through on the Intent to Breastfeed: The Impact of Non-Parental Child Care

The purpose of this study was to examine mothers’ perceptions of the facilitators and barriers to their ability to follow through on the intent to breastfeed their infants once the transition to non-parental child care was made.
Two small girls going down a blue slide at the playground

FOODTIME: Focusing on Obesity

This project worked with parents of 5- to 8-year-old children to develop new tools that parents could access online to teach their children about healthy routines, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and obesity prevention.
Adults eating with and overseeing children during a meal at a child care setting

Improving Feeding Practices in Child Care Settings

The long-term goal of this postdoctoral fellowship project was to address early childhood obesity and enhance the nutrition and health of young children by improving feeding practices in early-care and education settings.
A family of three with a grocery cart, shopping at the grocery store

Assessing Food Security in Decatur

This project enabled community stakeholders in Decatur, Illinois, to better develop effective strategies to fight hunger in their community.
A family at the dinner table talking and laughing together

Families Eating and Talking Together

This project identified positive family events and routines that promote health and healthy development within families.
A toddler looking at the camera with a plateful of food in front of her and another toddler in the background

Microbial Interrelationships Between Mothers and Infants by Mode of Feeding

The objective of this study was to investigate the interrelationships between bacteria present on different microbial sites of infants and their mothers, and to gain a more in-depth understanding of how these bacteria were transferred between the pair.
A father getting food at the dinner table with his family around him

Fathers and Family Mealtimes: Identifying Men's Roles in Increasing Children's Healthy Eating Habits

This project explores the unique roles played by men’s weight-related parenting behaviors during mealtimes and how such behaviors are related to children’s healthy eating habits during the early childhood years.
Two children in the garden learning from a master gardener

Gardening and Family Health

The Gardening and Family Health project investigated the influence of gardening on individual health, in an effort to extend its benefits to family rituals and routines.
Parenting 24-7 online tool

Evaluating the Effectiveness of an Online Parenting System for High-Risk Parents

This project evaluated the effectiveness of the online resource system Parenting 24/7 for supporting the acquisition of developmentally appropriate expectations for children, confidence in parenting skills, and positive parenting behaviors among high-risk parents.
Three family members at the dinner table, smiling

Family Dinner Campaign Evaluation: Kids Eat It Up

This project started conversations with parents about strategies for successful family meals by disseminating Mealtime Minutes public-service announcements through varied media platforms.