Kinesiology Professor Chen Received NIH Funding to Battle Childhood Obesity


chenSenlin Chen, a Helen "Bessie" Silverberg Pliner Associate Professor with the School of Kinesiology, received a R21 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human, National Institutes Health (NIH), to study childhood obesity prevention ($427,440; 2017-2019).

Dr. Chen is the principal investigator of the funded proposal titled “Evaluating a Systems-Based Health Intervention for Middle School Wellness”. He will be investigating the adaptation of the SWITCH (School Wellness Integration for Childhood Health) program in middle schools. SWITCH is an evidence-based childhood obesity prevention program. Its elementary school version has been developed, tested, and disseminated in Iowa. Dr. Chen and his team are now expanding the program to impact the health and wellness of young adolescents (6th and 7th grade students).

A former assistant professor of Kinesiology at Iowa State University, Dr. Chen joined the School of Kinesiology, College of Human Sciences & Education at LSU in August. He has been involved as a key investigator of the SWITCH interdisciplinary research team since 2011. The SWITCH team has received significant research funding from extramural sources such as Wellmark Foundation and United States of Agriculture to help elementary school children “switch what they Do, View, and Chew” (≥60mins physical activity per day, < 2hr screen time, ≥5 servings of fruit and vegetables).

In the new NIH grant, Dr. Chen will lead the same research team with members from Iowa State University and University of Nebraska Medical Center to develop and evaluate the middle school SWITCH program in the next two years. The project will involve over a dozen middle schools in Iowa to establish evidence for the program. A long-term goal of this project is to disseminate the program to broader schools in Iowa, Louisiana, and beyond. 

About SOK
The LSU School of Kinesiology (SOK) advances the understanding of physical activity, sport, and health to optimize the quality of life for diverse populations through excellence in teaching, learning, discovery, and engagement. SOK offers a BS, MS, Online MS, PhD, and two certificate options. Graduates go on to successful careers in the health and fitness industry, corporate wellness, sport agencies and businesses, athletic administration, and K-12 educational settings. SOK is part of the College of Human Sciences & Education.

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About CHSE
The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Human Resource Education & Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree programs, enrolling more than 2,020 undergraduate and 879 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.

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