Healthy Weight Research Network Grant Awarded to Shriver Center Researchers

The Health Promotion & Wellness in Developmental Disabilities Research Group at the UMMS-E.K. Shriver Center was recently awarded a three-year grant from the Maternal Child Health Bureau to establish a national research network on healthy weight in children with autism and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD).

The research network will be co-directed by Linda Bandini, PhD, Carol Curtin, MSW, and Aviva Must, PhD. The goals of the network are to:

  1. Conduct research to improve knowledge about the prevalence of overweight/obesity, key risk factors, and obesity-related chronic/secondary health conditions among youth with ASD/DD
  2. Engage in formative work on barriers to healthy eating and physical activity in children with ASD/DD
  3. Support innovative pilot studies designed to test the efficacy/feasibility of interventions to prevent/reduce excessive weight among youth with ASD/DD
  4. Leverage funding support for research that will fulfill the aims of the Healthy Weight Research Network research agenda
  5. Disseminate findings to broad research, clinical, public health, and lay audiences.

The network will be composed of a national, interdisciplinary team of established researchers with expertise in ASD/DD and/or obesity. An advisory panel of nationally-recognized experts in public health, cultural competence, family-centered care, and self-advocacy will provide input into research agenda and will provide guidance on key issues.