Maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) and rapid infant weight gain are important determinants of a child's lifelong risk of obesity. It is particulrly important to improve these outcomes in the Latino population, where rates of obesity and its associated comorbidities are higher than in the general population. The proposed study (GROW Baby) will test how a behavioral intervention supports healthy maternal GWG (Aim 1) and healthy infant growth (Aim 2). By developing a nested sub-cohort from an ongoing randomized healthy lifestyle trial known as Growing Right Onto Wellness (GROW), GROW Baby will collect new data from both Latina women who become pregnant and their infants born during the study. GROW is a culturally tailored intervention that teaches healthy nutrition and physical activity for both mother and pre-school child (aged 3-5 years). The control condition is a school readiness program. Because intervention-group mothers who become pregnant during the study learn these healthy lifestyle skills prior to or early in pregnancy, the intervention has the potential to support healthy maternal GWG and future infant growth. A committed primary mentor and a multidisciplinary team of co-mentors will oversee the candidate's progression to becoming an independently funded physician scientist with a focus on leveraging healthy behavior changes during pregnancy to prevent and treat maternal and child obesity. The career development plan integrates advanced training in behavioral interventions, community engagement methods, the maternal- child interaction, and targeted approaches to underserved populations. The candidate will gain exposure to senior mentors with expertise in behavioral trials and perinatal nutrition, and will participate in 1) advanced coursework; 2) an ongoing intervention to prevent pediatric obesity; 3) community engagement activities; and 4) a multi-pronged approach applying cultural sensitivity skills to community research with Latino populations. In conducting the proposed research, the candidate will advance the field of maternal-child obesity prevention by understanding how a behavioral intervention implemented before and during pregnancy could support healthy weight for both mother and child.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity prevention must begin in pregnancy, a period of childhood development ripe for effective interventions. This study will test whether a family-based, community centered behavioral intervention delivered prior to conception and during pregnancy will support healthy pregnancy weight gain and healthy infant growth. Only by amplifying obesity prevention to the level of the family can we hope to address the expanding public health crisis of pediatric obesity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Special Emphasis Panel (MPOR (OA))
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Pratt, Charlotte
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Heerman, William J; Burgess, Laura E; Escarfuller, Juan et al. (2018) Competency Based Approach to Community Health (COACH): The methods of a family-centered, community-based, individually adaptive obesity randomized trial for pre-school child-parent pairs. Contemp Clin Trials 73:1-7
Heerman, William J; Berge, Jerica M; Barkin, Shari L (2018) Mentoring of Early-Stage Investigators When Funding Is Tight: The Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment Research Experience. JAMA Pediatr 172:4-6
Teeters, Leah A; Heerman, William J; Schlundt, David et al. (2018) Community readiness assessment for obesity research: pilot implementation of the Healthier Families programme. Health Res Policy Syst 16:2
Heerman, William J; Schludnt, David; Harris, Dawn et al. (2018) Scale-out of a community-based behavioral intervention for childhood obesity: pilot implementation evaluation. BMC Public Health 18:498
Heerman, William J; Lounds-Taylor, Julie; Mitchell, Stephanie et al. (2018) Validity of the toddler feeding questionnaire for measuring parent authoritative and indulgent feeding practices which are associated with stress and health literacy among Latino parents of preschool children. Nutr Res 49:107-112
Barkin, Shari L; Heerman, William J; Sommer, Evan C et al. (2018) Effect of a Behavioral Intervention for Underserved Preschool-Age Children on Change in Body Mass Index: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 320:450-460
Fletcher, Grace E; Teeters, Leah; Schlundt, David et al. (2018) Maternal conception of gestational weight gain among Latinas: A qualitative study. Health Psychol 37:132-138
Heerman, William J; Jackson, Natalie; Hargreaves, Margaret et al. (2017) Clusters of Healthy and Unhealthy Eating Behaviors Are Associated With Body Mass Index Among Adults. J Nutr Educ Behav 49:415-421.e1
Heerman, William J; JaKa, Meghan M; Berge, Jerica M et al. (2017) The dose of behavioral interventions to prevent and treat childhood obesity: a systematic review and meta-regression. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 14:157
JaKa, M M; Haapala, J L; Trapl, E S et al. (2016) Reporting of treatment fidelity in behavioural paediatric obesity intervention trials: a systematic review. Obes Rev 17:1287-1300

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