What DO kids eat these days? …Scientists try to discover

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Released: Monday, April 17, 2006

BATON ROUGE, LA – Learning what kids eat is not easy. Do you simply watch them? Ask them? Have them fill out a survey? This month, researchers from Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC) will be trying to discover what kids are eating these days and learning how to accurately measure the results.

During the next four-weeks, dieticians and trained individuals from the Center will visit Garyville/Mt. Airy Math & Science School and John L. Ory Magnet School in St. John the Baptist Parish to learn what foods students are consuming by using a variety of methods including focus groups, interviews and surveys.

The four-week measurements are all part of a much bigger project planned to start in the fall. Researchers will take what they learn about measuring elementary school eating habits and apply the lessons as part of a multi-parish research project called LA Health. A two-year study, LA Health is designed to help scientists learn if changes in elementary schools can lead to healthier adults. The idea here is that if a school environment is designed to encourage positive lifestyle changes and helps students to make healthy changes, then perhaps the result is healthier adults.

Center scientists are encouraged by results of a similar project they conducted in East Baton Rouge Parish during the last two school years and plan to carry out LA Health in schools in Avoyelles, East Feliciana, East Carroll, Madison, Pointe Coupee, and St. John parishes.


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.