Rutgers University Fights Childhood Obesity: The Healthy HomeStyles Research Coalition and Project

Dr. Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., R.D., F.A.N.D.

Dr. Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., R.D., F.A.N.D., Professor, Dept. of Nutritional Sciences, Extension Specialist in Community Nutrition, Rutgers University

Dr. Byrd-Bredbenner’s research focuses on nutrition education and health promotion with the goal of promoting healthy lifestyles. Her research systematically studies the complex interplay of personal and environmental factors that influence dietary choices in order to enable health professionals to design effective programs that result in improved nutrition and health. Dr. Byrd-Bredbenner specifically studies obesity prevention, both in preschoolers and their families, and in college students.

Fighting Childhood Obesity in the US: The Healthy HomeStyles Research Study

Dr. Byrd-Bredbenner is part of a group of Nutrition researchers who are developing education and intervention strategies that will effectively improve nutrition and health in preschoolers and their families. To accomplish these goals, these researchers have established the Healthy HomeStyles Research Study, which is a Randomized Controlled Intervention Trial that will test a program that will enable and motivate parents in New Jersey and Arizona to change their home environments and lifestyle practices in order to prevent childhood obesity.

In brief, the Healthy HomeStyles Research Study will:

1) Develop & test educational programs and materials

2) Train in home teachers to perform face-to-face delivery of the program

3) Recruit families with preschoolers

4) Conduct a Randomized Controlled Trial to determine whether independent learning through a website education program is comparable in effectiveness to face to face instruction in the home.

Healthy HomeStyles Research Study Goals are to have families increase the following activities:

  • Eat Together as a Family Often
  • Promote Positive Family Mealtimes
  • Tame the Effects of TV on Diet
  • Rethink Beverage Choices
  • Serve Age-Appropriate Portion Sizes
  • Encourage More Fresh Vegetable Availability and Intake
  • Encourage Cereal for Breakfast
  • Promote Positive Parental Feeding Practices
  • Set Aside Time for Fun, Active Family Playtime
  • Trade Screen-time for Active Play
  • Promote Adequate Sleep Duration


Dr. Byrd-Bredbenner’s research program is one of the efforts at Rutgers University that is fighting obesity. The Healthy HomeStyles Research Randomized Controlled Intervention Trial will allow the development of valuable, scientifically verified programs that will help the United States prevent childhood obesity.

The Website for the study is:

Below are the covers of two of the guides used in the Healthy HomeStyles Research Project.

Fuss Free Eating for Carol BB PostHealthy Home Poster 1

Some recent articles from the Healthy HomeStyles Project:

Yorkin, M., Spaccarotella, K., Martin-Biggers, J., Quick, V., Byrd-Bredbenner, C. Accuracy and consistency of weights provided by home bathroom scales. BMC Public Health. 2013; 13:1194

Martin-Biggers, J., Beluska, K., Quick, V., Tursi, M., Byrd-Bredbenner, C. (In Press) Crafting cover lines to entice mothers to read health communications. Journal of Health Communications

Martin-Biggers, J., Spaccarotella, K., Hongu, N., Worobey, J., and Byrd-Bredbenner, C. Effects of family meals on health outcomes: A review. (In Press) Nutrition Reviews