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Arnold School of Public Health

Children Home Eating and Exercise Study (CHEER)


To explore healthy eating and physical activity practices and policies in family childcare home settings, in the context of childhood obesity prevention.


 Prevalence of childhood obesity has nearly tripled among pre-school aged children over the past four decades. Millions of young children spend a considerable amount of time in the care of providers within family child care home settings. Past research has demonstrated that these settings insufficiently address factors that contribute to childhood obesity and often experience unique barriers to implementing healthy eating and physical activity standards. In South Carolina, new healthy eating and physical activity regulatory standards for family child care homes will be released and efforts will be made to ensure compliance and adherence to the new standards.


We will evaluate the impact of the new regulatory standards on weight status, physical activity, and diet behaviors of children in family child care home settings. We will recruit 120 family child care home providers and 3 children from each home to participate in the study Baseline measurements will be collected during Fall 2017/early Spring 2018 with follow-up measurements occurring later in 2018 (follow-up 1) and in 2019 (follow-up 2). We will observe the healthy eating and physical activity practices that occur during a typical day and will review related policies in each family child care home setting. Child-level measurements will include body mass index, physical activity behaviors, and diet (as determined by direct observation and 24-hour parent recall).

Project Details

Timeline: August, 2017-May, 2021
Funding Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH), NICHD
Principal Investigators: Sara Benjamin-Neelon, Russell R. Pate
Co-Investigator(s): Kerry Cordan, Brian Neelon

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.