2018 Fall Magazine

Page 8

Centered on Research The college’s five world-class research centers help advance Penn State’s mission by creating training opportunities for students, housing experts that lead research in their fields, and by producing outcomes that positively impact individuals and communities. Read below about a project being conducted in each research center, representative of countless evidence-based efforts being conducted throughout the college.

Center for Childhood Obesity Research Developing successful childhood obesity prevention and treatment programs

Responsive parenting to promote healthy infant growth One of the ongoing projects at the Center for Childhood Obesity Research, the WEE Baby Care Study, takes findings from previous research and implements them in two real-world settings—the pediatrician’s office and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics. The center’s previous work, in collaboration with Dr. Ian Paul in the College of Medicine, showed that INSIGHT, an intervention to help first-time mothers use responsive parenting practices in the areas of feeding, sleep, soothing, and interactive play, reduced infants’ risk of developing obesity. “Feeding a baby can be an easy and fast way to quiet an upset baby,” said Jennifer Savage Williams, center director. “But we don’t want parents to use feeding to soothe their baby if the baby isn’t hungry—crying is one of the last things a baby is likely to do if they are hungry. By understanding how their baby reacts and relates to his environment and establishing predictable routines early in life, parents are able to help their baby learn to self-regulate.” In the WEE Baby Care Study, the center is translating findings from the INSIGHT clinical trial in community settings by coordinating care between Geisinger Health and WIC clinics to deliver intervention messages from INSIGHT to low-income mothers, in settings where they already receive guidance on caring for their infant.

8 | Health and Human Development

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