Minnesota Nursing magazine

Program targets child obesity in rural Minnesota

Professor leads initiative to study child and family obesity prevention
Barb Schlaefer

Jayne Fulkerson

Jayne Fulkerson, PhD

Children in rural communities are particularly at risk for obesity due to poor access to healthy foods, poverty, limited physical activity and more screen time. That’s why Jayne Fulkerson, PhD, professor and lead investigator, is partnering with a major health system and a non-profit research organization on an initiative to study the most effective means for preventing children and their families from gaining excess weight. Her team will offer and assess a new family-based program to boost healthy eating habits in a rural farming region, New Ulm, Minnesota. Partners in this effort are Allina Health and the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. The program builds on Fulkerson’s body of research and will target 7 to 10-year-old children and their families. “If families are having trouble finding time to have meals together, we want to help them identify strategies to increase the number of family meals per week,” Fulkerson said. “If they are already eating family meals, we want to help them focus on making the meals healthy.”


Project lead: Professor Jayne Fulkerson, PhD

Funding: $3.3 million from the National Institutes of Health