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Arnold School of Public Health

Linking Activity, Nutrition, and Child Health (LAUNCH)


The goal of the research is to expand the body of knowledge on the relationship between physical activity and weight status in children as they develop from infancy to preschool age.


In preparation for this study, the investigators conducted three pilot projects. The first was conducted to gain experience with the protocol of data collection from mothers and children. The second pilot study assessed an issue related to objective measurement of physical activity and sedentary behavior in very young children. In the third pilot study, accelerometry data were collected for 5 to 7 days in 93 children between the ages of 6 and 36 months and showed consistent, predictable patterns across time frames and age blocks.


Research participants will be 160 children and their biological mothers living in Columbia, SC. Children of all races and ethnic backgrounds are included, as are equal percentages of female and male children. Participants are being recruited through childcare centers, pediatrics practices, churches, and community organizations in Richland County. For each participating child, measurements will be taken at 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36 months of age.

Project Details

Timeline: December 2017-November 2022
Funding Source: National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)/NIH
Principal Investigator: Russell R. Pate
Co-Investigator(s): William Brown, Kerry Cordan, Marsha Dowda, Edward Frongillo, Alexander McLain, Jennifer O’Neill, Myriam Torres


Olejua P, McLain AC, Inak N,  Dowda M, Pate RR - (2024). Clustering Patterns of 24-Hour Physical Activity in Children 6-36 Months Old. Pediatric Exercise Science. [pdf]

Bucko A, Armstrong B, McIver KL,  Mclain AC, Pate RR - Longitudinal  associations between sleep and weight status in infants and toddlers. Pediatric Obesity. 28 May 2023. [pdf]

Pate RR, Frogillo EA, Cordan K, Dowda M, McLain AC, Torres ME, Brown WH, Bucko A, Shull ER - Linking Activity, Nutrition, and Child Health (LAUNCH): protocol for a longitudinal cohort study of children as they develop from infancy to preschool age. BMC Public Health. 2020 Jun; 20:931. [pdf]

Bucko A, Dowda M, Frongillo EA, Torres M, Pate RR - Nighttime sleep and physical activity in 6-7 month-old infants. Infant Behavior and Development. 2021; 101628. [pdf]

Shull E, Dowda M, McIver KL, McLain A, Benjamin-Neelon S, Ulrich B, Pate RR - Behavioral, Environmental, and Demographic Factors Associate with Objectively Measured Physical Activity in Infants. 2022; DOI: 10.1089/chi.2021.0197. [pdf]


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