Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Promote Health and Well-Being Among Children

2018 Call for Proposals

    Release Date: May 23, 2018 | Application Deadline: July 18, 2018, 3:00 p.m. ET
Healthy Eating Research (HER) is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program, which supports research on policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies with strong potential to promote the health and well-being of children at a population level. Specifically, HER aims to help all children achieve optimal nutrition and a healthy weight. HER grantmaking focuses on children and adolescents from birth to 18, and their families, with a priority on lower-income and racial and ethnic minority populations that are at-risk of poor nutrition and obesity. Findings are expected to advance RWJF’s efforts to ensure that all children and their families have the opportunity and resources to experience the best physical, social, and emotional health possible, promote health equity, and build a Culture of Health.

Healthy Eating Research issues calls for proposals (CFPs) to solicit scientifically rigorous, solution-oriented proposals from investigators representing diverse disciplines and backgrounds. This CFP is for two types of awards aimed at providing advocates, decision-makers, and policymakers with evidence to promote the health and well-being of children through nutritious foods and beverages. The award types are Round 11, small- and large-scale grants. The two funding opportunities are described in more detail beginning on page 2 of the CFP.

You can learn more about Healthy Eating Research at www.healthyeatingresearch.org.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

For All Grant Opportunities

  • Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation.
  • Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.
  • The focus of this program is the United States; studies in other countries will be considered only to the extent that they may directly inform U.S. policy.

Key Dates

May 23July 18, 2018 (3 p.m. ET)
RWJF online system available to applicants for concept papers.

June 6, 2018 (3 p.m. ET)
Optional applicant webinar. Registration is required. Please visit the program’s website for complete details and to register.

July 18, 2018 (3 p.m. ET)
Concept papers due. Those submitted after July 18, 2018 (3 p.m. ET) will not be reviewed.

August 13, 2018
Applicants notified whether they are invited to submit a full proposal.

March 13–15, 2019
Healthy Eating Research Annual Meeting

For all grant types, see table in the CFP for separate key dates/deadlines for small-scale vs. large-scale grants.

Total Awards

Approximately $2.6 million will be awarded under this CFP for the two award types. The anticipated allocation of funds is as follows:

  • Approximately $1.6 million will be awarded as small-scale grants, resulting in the funding of up to eight small research grants through this solicitation. Each grant will award up to $200,000 for up to 18 months.
  • Approximately $1 million will be awarded as large-scale grants, resulting in the funding of two large-scale grants through this solicitation. Each grant will award up to $500,000 for up to 24 months.

Exercise! A Little Goes a Long Way

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Easy Does It.

By Peg Ryan
Mile High Pilates and Yoga

This blog has been touting the benefits of exercise since its inception.  Any of you who have ever been involved in marketing know that repetition is the key to getting your message to penetrate.  As a movement evangelist I agree with the importance of driving that message home.  So here is another round of research that not only reinforces how important it is to keep moving but also shows that even a little can have significant results.

For those of you who are concerned that exercise might be dangerous, a clinical perspective published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology indicates that “even small amounts of physical activity are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease”. “The evidence with regard to exercise continues to unfold and educate the cardiovascular clinical community,” said JACC Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D. “The greatest benefit is to simply exercise, regardless of the intensity . . .”.  The article does make mention of the problems that can occur when trying to be too intense too soon without proper preparation.  So often I see people who try to go from zero to maximum in an effort to make up for lost time.  Perhaps they are thinking of what they “should” be able to do instead of accepting where they are right now.   Then they wonder why they get injured or worse decide that they can’t exercise after all.  Unfortunately, we can’t change the past.  What used to be is gone.  But we can start today to change the way we feel right now.

It turns out that it is not necessary to run a marathon or climb Mt. Everest to experience health improvements.  Recent studies show that exercise in lower intensities still significantly lowers disease risk.  So the best advice is still to start slow and gradually increase, especially if it has been a while since you’ve done any regular moving at all. Increases can be made in a variety of ways:  time spent moving or movement intensity such as distance, speed or difficulty.  Only one of these factors should be increased at any one time. Then the body needs time to adjust to each increase before adding anything new.  If you keep this moderate movement in mind and continue to remind yourself that any movement is better than no movement, perhaps you can control the urge to do too much too soon.  This applies to all forms of movement including yoga and Pilates.  There are modifications for all moves so that new participants can start slow.  The trick is to listen to your own body, focus on your own needs and ignore what you see anyone else doing.  Regular practice will enable your body to adapt and at your own pace you will begin to notice improvements.

In addition to the heart health benefits, the mind-body connection is also increasingly demonstrating how important physical movement is for brain health.  Contrary to long held beliefs, our brains are capable of forming new pathways throughout our lives – even as we age.  In an article from Boston University Medical Center researchers found “that higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with enhanced brain structure in older adults. . .”  Corresponding author Scott Hayes, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and the associate director of the Neuroimaging Research for Veterans Center at the VA Boston Healthcare System, noted that “physical activities that enhance cardiorespiratory fitness such as walking, are inexpensive, accessible and could potentially improve quality of life by delaying cognitive decline and prolonging independent function.”  Another study, also dealing with physical activity and brain health, further reinforces these findings.  “Our study provides the strongest evidence to date that fitness in an older adult population can have substantial benefits to brain health in terms of the functional connections of different regions of the brain,” said Beckman Institute director Arthur Kramer.  Michelle Voss, who led that study while a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois, further noted that “the benefits of fitness seem to occur within the low-to-moderate range of endurance, suggesting that the benefits of fitness for the brain may not depend on being extremely fit.”  More evidence that a little movement is all you need.

The best news is that the medical profession is finally beginning to get the message.  A recent article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal provides a “How-to Guide for Prescribing Exercise for Chronic Health Conditions”.  The article notes that “Exercise helps to alleviate the symptoms of many chronic health conditions such as knee osteoarthritis, low back pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease and more, yet it is often overlooked as a treatment.”  “Many doctors and their patients aren’t aware that exercise is a treatment for these chronic conditions and can provide as much benefit as drugs or surgery, and typically with fewer harms,” states lead author Dr. Tammy Hoffmann, Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice, Bond University, Robina, Australia.  Some examples of the chronic conditions that can benefit from exercise include osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, low back pain and prevention of falls.  In particular, movements that aid in improving muscle strength, range of motion, coordination, and balance are mentioned as some of the interventions that can help with these and other conditions.

As you know, Pilates and yoga specialize in practicing these types of movements.  So doesn’t it make sense to give movement a try?  It costs less than doctors visits, medication or surgery.  All it takes is an investment of time and a commitment to practice.  As noted above, you don’t need to be an expert or even an athlete to get started.  You can start where ever you are.  If you can move at all, there is something you can do. Make a decision to be kind to yourself and take it slow.  If you are already following a medical protocol you should, of course, check with your medical professional before starting any program.  But try asking before you assume that you are incapable of exercise or that it won’t help you.  You’ll never know until you try.