UK Partners with UNC to Address Early Childhood Obesity in Kentucky

January 10, 2019


UK College of Public Health researchers are partnering with the Children’s Healthy Weight Research Group at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, and the UK Human Development Institute on an implementation study targeting prevention of obesity in early childhood. Dr. Tina Studts is the site PI for UK on the four-year NIH-funded R01 led by Dr. Dianne Ward at UNC. Julie Jacobs, MPH, is the UK project coordinator. Studts and Jacobs are in the CPH Dept. of Health, Behavior & Society.


The goal of the project is to identify effective implementation strategies to bring Go NAPSACC, an evidence-based program developed at UNC, to early child care settings in Kentucky. Using a cluster randomized trial design, the team aims to find ways to increase adoption of healthy eating and physical activity practices by child care programs.


“Kentucky has the eighth highest rate of adult obesity and third highest rate of child obesity in the U.S.,” said Elaine Russell, MS, RD, LD, Obesity Prevention Coordinator in the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “Evidenced-based solutions like Go NAPSACC will reinforce our state’s efforts to improve the quality of child care and give children a healthy start to life.”


“We’re very excited to continue building partnerships in Kentucky and beyond to conduct high-quality research on the implementation of evidence-based programs that improve child and family outcomes,” added Dr. Studts.




About Go NAPSACC: is an easy-to-use web-based toolkit for early care and education programs interested in building healthy eating and physical activity habits in children. Go NAPSACC is based on a set of best practices that stem from the latest research and guidelines in the field. Programs use Go NAPSACC to improve their practices, policies, and environments and meet these best practices.  Go NAPSACC was developed by the Children’s Healthy Weight Research Group, which is part of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at UNC.


The University of Kentucky College of Public Health is a catalyst of positive change for population health, with a mission to develop health champions, conduct multidisciplinary and applied research, and collaborate with partners to improve health in Kentucky and beyond.