The Center for Childhood Obesity Research

About The Center for Childhood Obesity Research (CCOR)

Despite national and federal initiatives to reduce pediatric obesity, 1 in 10 infants and toddlers are obese, placing them at increased risk for later obesity. These rates are even higher for economically disadvantaged children. Genes, epigenetics, the intrauterine environment, as well as early life influences play a role in whether or not a child is obese.

Obesity prevention is critical because those who become overweight tend to have more serious comorbidities as obese adults, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers throughout the lifespan. The childhood obesity epidemic demands action, but action requires an evidence base to ensure optimal outcomes that are also cost-effective.

Multidisciplinary research is needed to develop effective and efficient behavioral interventions to prevent childhood obesity. These preventative interventions will need to produce changes at multiple levels, including individuals, families, schools, health care providers, communities and government policy.

Also known as "The Family Health & Eating Lab: Raising Healthy Families"

In addition to conducting research, CCOR staff members deliver nutrition education to several community partnership locations. The Center identifies as "The Family Health & Eating Lab" during outreach activities and our slogan, "Raising Healthy Families," encompasses all that we strive to do here at CCOR.

CCOR's Mission

The overall mission of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research (CCOR) is to conduct interdisciplinary research that contributes to the evidence base needed to inform successful childhood obesity prevention programs that can then be disseminated to public health and clinical practice audiences.

This center combines the research strengths of the College of Health & Human Development, including preventive interventions; attention to biology, behavior, and family relationships; medical and community partnerships; and real time ecological momentary assessment of health via data from sensors, accelerometers, and smartphone technology.

Goals of the Center

We are a college-wide research center created to catalyze innovative, interdisciplinary research on individualized, adaptive interventions focused on preventing obesity in children, beginning in the first years of life. The Center goals are to:

  • Conduct research that will serve as the evidence base for developing successful interventions to prevent maternal and childhood obesity
  • Enhance collaborations within the Penn State University community on projects related to childhood obesity
  • Develop collaborations with public health professionals and Pennsylvania communities in the design and implementation of childhood obesity interventions
  • Centralize efforts to obtain research funding from foundations, industry and federal agencies for childhood obesity research