Policies for Action Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Research Hub


Nearly 13 million children and adolescents are considered obese, with rates significantly higher for Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black as compared to White children and adolescents. Key contributors to child/adolescent obesity are lack of activity and excessive intake of solid fats and added sugars. Public policy strategies have been shown to be effective population-level strategies for changing systems and individual-level outcomes, including improvements in the food and physical activity environments and related individual outcomes.

This center examines policy implementation efforts and/or policy impacts on child and/or adolescent obesity and related outcomes. Three primary studies will be conducted: (1) quantitative study of the impact of the USDA school meal and smart snack standards on cross-sectional changes to children and adolescent’s dietary intake over time using 24-hour dietary recall data from NHANES; (2) qualitative study of the implementation of state and local healthy food financing initiatives nationwide and how the policy language may lead to unintended on-the-ground implementation strategies; and (3) qualitative and quantitative examinations of the impact of state and/or local-level pay-to-play policies and laws on creating disparities in opportunities for engaging in school sports programming among children and adolescents.

We also will conduct one to two small-scale evaluation studies of implementation of Voices for Healthy Kids policy strategies.

Affiliated Center/Program

Funding Agency

Policies for Action (P4A), a signature research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Grant No. 73758)


Co-principal investigators
Jamie F. Chriqui, PhD, MHS (UIC)
Amy A. Eyler, PhD, CHES (Washington University at St. Louis)


Lisa Powell, PhD
Oksana Pugach, PhD

Elizabeth Piekarz-Porter also collaborates in this work.

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Related publications

Eyler AA, Piekarz-Porter E, Serrano NH. Pay to Play? State Laws Related to High School Sports Participation Fees. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2019 May/Jun;25(3):E27-E35. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000813.