NIH Grant to Help LSU Researchers Fight Youth Obesity Using Virtual and Real-Life Tools

February 16, 2024

Portrait of Dr. Senlin Chen

Dr. Senlin Chen

LSU Kinesiology Professor Senlin Chen, PhD, and his team are developing a novel obesity prevention program to use in Louisiana schools, combining such tactics as virtual pets and coaches with the best science to encourage healthy behaviors.

Funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Chen’s ProudMe intervention integrates daily experiences in virtual and real life to influence behaviors — including physical activity, diet, screen time, and sleep — followed by an assessment of outcomes.

“This research study is the innovative approach we need to get kids on a healthier track,”  said team member Dr. Amanda E. Staiano of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “We're designing this tool and testing it out right here in Baton Rouge schools. What we learn from our local kids in this study will help improve children's health in schools across the country.”

This important research directly supports LSU’s Scholarship First Agenda, particularly in biomedical research and discovery, and ensures LSU is meeting “the challenge of improving the state’s health outcomes head-on.”

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