A study out of LSU attempts to help solve the problem of childhood obesity. Dr. Amanda Staiano with Pennington Biomedical Research Center says one in two Louisiana kids struggle with their weight.
She says the goal of the TIGER Kids research study is to learn how much physical activity kids are getting, what they’re eating, and what can be done to improve their health.
“Kids will actually wear devices that we give them: a GPS monitor, an activity monitor, and they’ll respond to text messages throughout the day. So we can get a sense for how are they spending their day, and are there times in their day when they can be more active,” Staiano said.
Staiano says they’re trying to tailor programs to help kids make healthy choices because one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to losing weight. She says they’re also interested in other aspects of kids’ lives because it’s not just diet and exercise that affect a person’s health.
“We’re also looking at children’s stress levels. How much sleep are they getting, what are their feelings and mood throughout the day, who are they spending time with, how much time do they spend with their friends or with their family,” Staiano said.
Staiano says less than 10% of children are getting the recommended amount of physical activity every day. She hopes the technology they use in the study can help them encourage kids to be more active.
“Maybe when kids get near a park, we can tell that on the GPS through their phone, and we can send them motivating text messages to encourage them to go to the park,” Staiano said.
Staiano says they’ve already enrolled over 100 kids in the study, but they need over 300 to complete the study. She says parents can enroll their kids at PBRC.edu/HealthierLA.