Illinois PRC - Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network


As a Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network Collaborating Center, the Illinois Prevention Research Center will work across the network to:

  • Identify nutrition and obesity-related areas subject to policy influence
  • Identify relevant policies that impact dietary behaviors
  • Describe the process of developing and implementing policies
  • Evaluate policy content, intent and enforcement
  • Evaluate behavioral and environmental change related to policies, including any unintended consequences
  • Translate work through policy briefs and other communications efforts.

The center will contribute to network-wide collaborative projects to identify key policy areas for study, assess policy processes and implementation, and evaluate the outcomes of the policy initiatives; participate in NOPREN workgroups and support the identification and/or development of new workgroups on emerging nutrition- and obesity-related policy topics; and, expand collaborations with local health departments, practitioners, and other partners on nutrition- and obesity-related policy research. A key focus of the center is to identify and assess disparities in all aspects of our nutrition- and obesity-related research.

The policy research project addresses a key CDC Winnable Battle focused on improving food retail environments by evaluating the impact of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) on the local food retail environment in Chicago. Researchers and policy-makers are beginning to understand barriers to and challenges of HFFI policy implementation, evidence is lacking regarding its impact on the existing neighborhood food retail environment and potential unintended consequences. This project takes advantage of a quasi-experiment in low-income, predominantly black, underserved neighborhoods to measure objective changes in availability, prices, and in-store and exterior marketing of healthy and less healthy foods and beverages and other store characteristics of surrounding food retail venues before and after introduction of a HFFI-supported grocery store and perceived changes in retailers’ sales, sourcing, stocking, and promotion of food and beverage items. Also, long-run availability, prices, marketing and other characteristics in the HFFI-supported store will be monitored. Importantly, and in line with the NOPREN policy framework, the IPRC-NOPREN policy research project seeks to examine the unintended consequences emanating from this policy. Study results will lead to a clearer understanding of HFFI impacts on the local food retail environment and thereby help inform policymakers at all levels of government on potential strategies needed to maximize the policy’s impact on improving the availability of healthy foods in underserved communities.

Research Partner(s)

The Illinois PRC is a collaborating center in the Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network, which includes research partners at:

Johns Hopkins University

University of California, San Francisco (Coordinating Center)

University of Minnesota

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

Funding Agency

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant No. 3U48DP005010, under the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Centers)


Principal investigator
Lisa M. Powell, PhD


Jamie F. Chriqui, PhD, MHS
Angela Odoms-Young, PhD
Shannon N. Zenk, PhD, MPH, RN

Start date
End date
Total award
About this grant

This competitive supplement grant (SIP14-027) to the Illinois Prevention Research Center supports the center’s participation in a CDC network of six PRCs that conduct research projects that enhance the evidence behind effective obesity prevention policies. The award amount listed is an estimated projection based on the original notice of award.


Related publications

Powell LM, Singleton CR, Li Y, Anderson Steeves E, Castro IA, Grigsby-Toussaint D, et al. Changes to SNAP-authorized retailer stocking requirements and the supply of foods and beverages in low-income communities in seven U.S. states. Transl Behav Med. 2019 Oct 1;9(5):857-864. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibz093.

Singleton CR, Li Y, Odoms-Young A, Zenk SN, Powell LM. Change in Food and Beverage Availability and Marketing Following the Introduction of a Healthy Food Financing Initiative-Supported Supermarket. Am J Health Promot. 2019 May;33(4):525-533. doi: 10.1177/0890117118801744.

Singleton CR, Li Y, Duran AC, Zenk SN, Odoms-Young A, Powell LM. Food and Beverage Availability in Small Food Stores Located in Healthy Food Financing Initiative Eligible Communities. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Oct 18;14(10). pii: E1242. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14101242.