Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) has been awarded $7.4 million in federal funds to research childhood obesity and diabetes prevention, issues that plague 14% of children between the ages of 2 and 4 and a third of children between 10 and 17 across the Natural State. Maternal health is also an area of research by ACNC.
ACNC is a partnership between Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research service, in collaboration with the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
The funding was made available from the USDA research service. Arkansas Children’s said the funding will continue the center’s 23-year history of research into how nutritional status, physical activity and dietary factors shape human development and influence susceptibility to childhood diseases, as well as those illnesses that initiate early in life but do not appear until adulthood.
“At ACNC, our faculty and staff have a single motivation,” said Dr. Sean Adams. ACNC director and professor of pediatrics at UAMS. “Improving the health and well-being of families, and figuring out which factors drive optimal child development and prevention of disease.”
The ACNC is one of only two human nutrition research centers in the nation dedicated entirely to exploring issues affecting children, and the only one focused on the population in a rural setting.
Dr. Greg Kearns, chief research officer at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, said studies that determine how breastfeeding and formula differ in their long-term effects on bone, brain function and metabolism are among the project that will benefit from this renewed funding.
The ACNC team is also exploring the link between obesity and exercise during pregnancy and its effects regarding growth and metabolism in the developing infant of first two years of life.