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Maryland School Wellness Partnership - Current Projects

COVID-19 Policies and Childhood Obesity Study

About Us

‌‌The COVID-19 Policies and Childhood Obesity Study is a four year project funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This project works with existing families to learn how COVID-19 policies relate to family routines, children's dietary and physical activity behaviors, and family risk for food insecurity. 

This study extends a rapid-response research project from the Spring of 2020 to examine disparities related to the impact of COVID-19 control policies. The COVID-19 Policies and Childhood Obesity Study will also evaluate the following:

  • The long-term impact of COVID-19 policies on disparities related to children’s health over two years following the start of the pandemic.
  • Measures of obesity and an analysis of projected impact on health care costs.
  • An explanatory mixed methods approach to understand the mechanisms linking COVID-19 policies and health behaviors. 

Specific Aims

  • Examine changes over time in child health behaviors (diet, physical activity, and sleep) and obesity/excess weight gain.
  • Examine the mechanisms explaining observed changes in child health behaviors and obesity/excess weight gain.
  • Determine projected health care costs related to changes in child health behaviors and obesity/excess weight gain due to COVID-19 policies overall and for specific populations, by race/ethnicity, SES, and geographic locale.

The Team

PI: Erin Hager, PhD, Associate Professor
Helina Selam, Quantitative Data Manager
Janny Dihn, Qualitative Data Manager
Rachel Deitch, MS, CHES, Project Coordinator