FRC News

Just Announced - $4.5M grant awarded to create I-TOPP Program

4/25/2011  8:00 am

The Family Resiliency Center is pleased to be a part of the announced award of a $4.5M dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to create the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program (I-TOPP).   The focus of the program is to create a new innovative research-based PhD/MPH degree program focused on childhood obesity prevention.

The new degree will integrate nutrition, physical activity, public health science, child development and family studies, economics and public health practice fields.  I-TOPP scholars will receive a generous stipend, tuition assistance, research and travel funds, as well as have the opportunity for broad cross-disciplinary interactions with other international scientists through the I-TOPP Visiting Faculty Program and Lecture Series.  Graduates of the I-TOPP program will be uniquely positioned to take leadership roles in academic, medical, non-profit and governmental institutions by providing expertise in population-based transdisciplinary approaches to childhood obesity prevention.  

This program builds on the Transdisciplinary childhood obesity research projects currently underway at the Family Resiliency Center such as the STRONG Kids Program.  The STRONG Kids program is a “cells to society” approach that examines how genetic, family, community, child care provider, cultural, and media factors contribute to the development of childhood weight imbalance, obesity, health behaviors and health beliefs.  The project team includes investigators from five different colleges and seven different departments.  For more information on the Program visit

The grants are awarded through USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and administered through NIFA. AFRI’s childhood obesity prevention supports single-function research, education and extension projects; multi-function integrated research, education and extension projects.  The long-term goal of USDA-sponsored obesity research is to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents. This year’s funding is focused on supporting research programs aimed at obesity in children ages two through eight. Each award decision was made through a competitive selection process based on scientific merit.