This spring, Baylor University and partners from Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health, New Mexico State University, the Mariposa Community Health Center in Arizona, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service received a five-year, $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant will support research aimed at improving the health of families living in colonias — unregulated neighborhoods in former agricultural areas — along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Baylor component of the research is led by Dr. Renée Umstattd-Meyer, an associate professor of health, human performance and recreation in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. Umstattd-Meyer, who also directs the Robbins College’s master’s of public health program, will lead research, education and extension activities related to the role of physical activity and screen time (sedentary time spent using a screen device like television, computers or video games) on childhood obesity.
Prior to submission of the USDA grant, Umstattd-Meyer gathered preliminary data with funding from a Young Investigator Development Program (YIDP) grant from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.
“The YIDP funding provided by Baylor greatly strengthened our proposal application,” she said. “In addition to supporting the collection of much needed pilot data regarding physical activity among families in south Texas border communities, the YIDP supported continued collaborations between myself and my colleague Dr. Sharkey at Texas A&M University and strengthened essential relationships between Baylor and our South Texas team.”
Ultimately, Umstattd-Meyer and her research colleagues hope to develop family-based interventions that will improve the health of immigrant communities in South Texas as well as other locations throughout the country.
Click here to read more about the research in a press release from Baylor University.