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Department of Kinesiology

Department of Kinesiology
Kansas State University
Natatorium 8
920 Denison Ave.
Manhattan, KS 66506

785-532-6486 fax

Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Motivation Laboratory

Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Motivation Laboratory
Departments of Kinesiology and Human Nutrition
Kansas State University
David A. Dzewaltowski, Ph.D., Co-Director
Richard Rosenkranz, Ph.D., Co-Director

Big Picture Research Question

The Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Motivation Laboratory aims to address obesity prevention and health promotion by investigating physical activity, healthful eating, and associated motivations in children and adolescents (hereafter youth). Central to this research program is an aim of identifying adult practices that define youth development settings (home, child care, school, after school programs, youth sport) that build the capacity of youth to self-regulate their health behaviors through personal agency and through advocacy for development setting environmental change. An additional aim is to identify strategies for the development of adult caregivers and parent’s capacity to implement evidence-based obesity prevention practices to obtain a widespread public health impact.

We study youth and adult practices and obesity prevention interventions in the community. This focus on understanding motivation within a human ecological development system uses research methodologies that require observation of adult and child behavior, objective assessment of physical activity and eating habits, and assessment of child development outcomes (self-regulation skills, motor skills, physical fitness, weight status). Our approach to studying the dissemination of evidence-based obesity prevention includes development of a train-the-trainer model that includes distance and face-to-face delivery methods using technology to partner with community service organizations, such as Boys and Girls Club, Girl Scouts, Head Start, and youth sport.

Research Questions

1. What are the motivational processes that impact youth’s engagement in physical activity and healthful eating, and how can interventions most effectively impact these motivational processes in youth?
2. What are the practices of parents and adult caregivers for creating quality youth development settings to promote health and prevent obesity, and how can interventions most effectively impact these practices in adults?
3. What are the effective methods for developing, implementing, evaluating and disseminating evidence-based programs that build the capacity of adult caregivers and parents to adopt health promotion and obesity prevention practices?

Current Projects

1. Training early childcare adult caregivers to influence children and parents obesity prevention practices at home: HOP'N Home Project
2. Training undergraduate wellness coaches to deliver health promotion educational experiences to youth and parents at home.
3. Understanding the role of sport coaches in healthful eating and physical activity of youth.

Graduate Student Opportunities

Dr. Dzewaltowski and Dr. Rosenkranz mentor students interested adopting a social and behavioral science approach to understanding motivation for public health physical activity and healthful eating across childhood and adolescence. We support M.S., M.P.H., and Ph.D. students interested in careers as public health researchers or public health practitioners.

Priority populations for research projects include parents and adult leaders of youth development settings, as well as preschoolers (3-5 year olds), elementary school aged children, and adolescents. Targeted settings may include childcare, schools, after-school programs, clubs, youth sport, and the home environment.

The laboratory has had significant funding for research on physical activity and healthful eating in youth for over 10 years from agencies such as National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Agriculture, Sunflower Foundation, and the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund. The 750 square foot laboratory provides space for data input, data management, and data analysis functions. For data collection, the Lab has several measurement (accelerometers, pedometers), data processing (high speed optical scanner and Teleform survey software) and data analysis (SAS, SPSS, HML, EQS) tools. The laboratory includes several graduate student workstations, a data input workstation, meeting area, and secure data storage room. The Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Motivation Laboratory is also supported by the K-State Physical Activity and Nutrition Clinical Research Laboratory, which is a clinical training and measurement facility including specialized assessment rooms, training rooms and measurement equipment such as Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry. The K-State motor pool provides vehicles for community-based data collection and intervention activities.

Recent graduates from the laboratory have been very successful in obtaining employment in academic and public health settings.

Aaron Boyd, MPH (2011). Global Regulatory Nutrition Team, Starbucks, Seattle, WA
Julie Pickler, MPH (2011). Wellness Specialist, Apple Corporation, Austin, TX
Tanis Hastmann, MPH (2008). Ph.D. (2011). Assistant Professor, University of North Dakota
Paula Ford, Ph.D. (2009). Assistant Professor at University of Texas at El Paso
Karly Geller, Ph.D. (2008). Assistant Professor, Miami University, Miami OH
Ric Rosenkranz, Ph.D. (2008). Assistant Professor, Kansas State University
Karla Foster, M.S. (2008). Research Assistant, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.

Laboratory Directors

David A. Dzewaltowski (dadx@ksu.edu), Professor and Head of the Department of Kinesiology at Kansas State University, has devoted his research to discovering the best way to encourage healthy living among youth. Dzewaltowski has studied community-based intervention promoting physical activity and healthful eating in childcare settings, elementary schools, after-school programs and diverse community organizations. His work has resulted in over 100 publications and 3250 citations in the scientific literature.

Most recently, he has developed a model for defining effective ways to implement evidence- based motivation enhancing practices in childcare and other youth settings that construct and maintain healthy environments that shape child development, promote physical activity and healthful eating and prevent obesity in young children. In all of his work, he has been focused on translating rigorous research results into practical, evidence-based health promotion practice.

Dzewaltowski received his bachelor's degree from Western Washington University in 1983, his master's degree from West Virginia University in 1985, and his doctorate in psychology of exercise and sport in 1987 from the University of Iowa. He has been at K-State since 1987. He was inducted into West Virginia University's College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences Hall of Fame in 2009.

Dzewaltowski has been on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, such as Health Psychology, Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, and Exercise and Sport Science Reviews. He also has served on several advisory boards, such as the Kansas Governor's Council on Fitness and the National Institutes of Health Behavior Change Consortium. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology.

Dzewaltowski has been the principal investigator on more than $4 million of extramurally funded community-based intervention research and program evaluation supported by agencies such as National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, United States Department of Agriculture, Kansas Health Foundation, Sunflower Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Richard R. Rosenkranz (ricardo@ksu.edu), Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition at Kansas State University, has focused his research on the identification of modifiable influences of healthful eating and physical activity among youth that lead to health promotion interventions designed to prevent obesity. His studies have been set in after-school programs, Girl Scout troops, schools, summer programs, and organized sport. As an early-career researcher, Dr. Rosenkranz is rapidly establishing a national reputation based on more than 30 peer-reviewed publications in the scientific literature over the last five years.

The framework underlying Dr. Rosenkranz’ work is to reach children and adolescents within a behavioral setting (home, after-school programs, youth sport, girl scouts), and to develop, implement, and evaluate intervention programs designed to impact the psychosocial mediators of healthy behavior. Dr. Rosenkranz’ work entails the development of sustainable changes to the determinants of physical activity and healthful eating by targeting children concurrently with the adults who help to define the structure and policies related to children’s behavior settings and the home environment. Most recently, Dr. Rosenkranz has developed a model for delivering an evidence-based coaching intervention to children in the home environment.

Dr. Rosenkranz earned a baccalaureate degree with honors in Psychology and Human Development and Family Life at the University of Kansas in 1993. He earned a masters degree in Psychology at the University of North Dakota in 1996, another masters in Kinesiology in 2001 and his doctorate in Human Nutrition in 2008 at Kansas State University. In the years between baccalaureate and doctoral degrees, he pursued a career in high performance sport, serving as the Junior National Team Coach and also Athlete Development Director for USA Triathlon.

From 2010-2011, Dr. Rosenkranz was Lecturer and Research Fellow at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, and retained the title of Adjunct Fellow with that Australian institution after returning to Kansas State University in 2012. In the past five years, Dr. Rosenkranz has been an investigator on three extramurally funded grants valued at over $250,000. He currently serves as an associate editor for Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, and is active in the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, the International Society for Physical Activity and Health, and the American College of Sports Medicine. 

Selected Recent Publications (Last 4 years)

1. Trost, S.G., Fees, B., Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2008). Feasibility and efficacy of a “Move and Learn” physical activity curriculum in preschool children. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 5, 88-103.
2. Klesges, L.M, Dzewaltowski, D.A., Glasgow, R.E. (2008). Review of external validity reporting in childhood obesity prevention research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34, 216-223.
3. Trost, S., Rosenkranz, R., Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2008). Physical activity levels among children attending after-school programs. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 44, 622-629.
4. Ford, P.B. & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2008). Disparities in obesity prevalence due to variation in the retail food environment: Three testable hypotheses. Nutrition Reviews, 66, 216-228,
5. Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2008). Emerging technology, physical activity, and sedentary behavior. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 36, 171.
6. Dzewaltowski, D.A., Ryan, G.J., & Rosenkranz, R.R. (2008). Parental bonding may moderate the relationships between parent physical activity and youth physical ativity after school. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 9, 848-854.
7. Coleman, K.J., Geller, K.S., Rosenkranz, R.R., Dzewaltowski, D.A.. (2008). Physical activity and healthy eating in the after-school environment. Journal of School Health, 78, 633-640.
8. Estabrooks, P.E., Bradshaw, M., Dzewaltowski, D.A., Smith-Ray, R.L. (2008). Determining the impact of Walk Kansas: Applying a team-building approach to community physical activity promotion. Annals of Behavioral medicine. 36, 1-12,
9. Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2008). Community out-of-school physical activity promotion. In Smith, A.L., & Biddle, S.J.H. (Eds.). Youth Physical Activity and Inactivity:  Challenges and Solutions (pp.377-401). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
10. Dzewaltowski, D.A., Estabrooks, P.A., Welk, G., Hill, J., Milliken, G., Karteroliotis, K., & Johnston, J.A., (2009). Healthy Youth Places, A randomized controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of facilitating adult and youth leaders to promote physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption. Health Education and Behavior, 36,
11. Rosenkranz, R. & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2009). Promoting better family meals for girls 12 by gender and socioeconomic status. Public Health Nutrition, 13, 843-51
12. Dzewaltowski, D.A., Rosenkranz, R., Geller, K., Coleman, K., Welk, G., Hastmann, T., et al. (2010). Healthy Opportunities for Physical Activity and Nutrition After-School: A randomized controlled trial.  International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7, 90 (ePub).
13. Foster, K.E., Behrens, T.K., Jager, A.L., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2010). Effect of Elimination Games on Physical Activity and Psychosocial Responses in Children, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 7, 475-483.
14. Geller, K.S., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2010b). Examining Elementary School-Aged Children's Self-Efficacy and Proxy Efficacy for Fruit and Vegetable Consumption.  Health Education and Behavior, 37, 465-478.
15. Rosenkranz, R.R., Behrens, T.K., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2010). A Group-Randomized Controlled Trial for Health Promotion in Girl Scouts: Healthier Troops in a SNAP (Scouting Nutrition and Activity Program). BMC Public Health, 10, 81
16. Rosenkranz, R. R. Bauer, A., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2010). Mother-daughter resemblance in BMI and obesity-related behaviors. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 22, 477-89.
17. Tucker, J.M., Welk, G.J.,Nusser, S.M., Beyler, N.K. & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2011). Estimating minutes of physical activity from PDPAR: Validation of a Predication Equation. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 8, 71-78.
18. Ford, P. & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2011). Neighborhood deprivation, supermarkets and BMI in low-income women across the urban-rural continuum: A multilevel analysis. Journal of Community Health, 36, 785-796.
19. Rosenkranz, R.R., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2011). Maternal Physical Activity-Related Parenting Behaviors May Influence Children’s Relative Weight. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, 20, 3-12.
20. Rosenkranz, R.R., Welk, G.J., Hastmann, T.J., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2011). Psychosocial and demographic correlates of objectively measured physical activity in structured and unstructured after-school recreation sessions. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 14, 306-311.
21. Estabrooks, PA., Smith-Ray, R. Dzewatlowski, D.A., Dowdy, D., Lattimore, D., Rheaume, C., Ory, M.G., Bazzarre, R., Griffin,S.F., & Wilcox, S. (2011). Sustainability of evidence-based community-based physical activity programs for older adults: Lessons from Active for Life. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 1, 208-215.
22. Rosenkranz, R.R., Welk, G.J., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2011). Environmental correlates of objectively measured physical activity in after-school recreation sessions. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 8, S214-221.
23. Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2012). In the Huddle: What role can sport and exercise psychology consultants play in the promotion of physical activity and wellness? Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 3, 53-54.
24. Coleman, K.J., Shordon, M., Caparosa, S.L., Pomichowski, M.E., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2012). The Healthy Options for Nutrition Environments in Schools (Healthy ONES) group randomized trial: Using implementation models to change nutrition policy and environments in low income schools. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9, 80.
25. Hastmann,T.J., Foster, K.E., Rosenkranz, R.R., Rosenkranz, S.K., & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (2012). Effect of adult leader participation on physical activity in children. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4, 429-435.
26. Hastman,, T.J., Bopp, M., Fallon, E.A., Rozenkranz, R.R., & Dzewaltowski, D.A., (2013). Factors influencing the implementation of organized physical Activity and fruit and vegetable snacks in the HOP'N after-school obesity prevention program. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior,
27. Dzewaltowski, D.A. (In Press). Promotion of physical activity in communities: Public health psychology of physical activity. In J. L. Van Raalte & B. W. Brewer (Eds.), Exploring Sport and Exercise Psychology 3nd Edition, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


   Youth Health Behavior Research LabYouth Health Behavior Research Lab

Ongoing Projects

Shoemaker, C., (PD) & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (Co-Project Director)
Out-of-School Gardening Club Overweight Prevention Project
National Research Initiative Grant, USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Human Nutrition and Obesity Program
$1,038,526 (Total Costs)

Coleman, K., (PD) & Dzewaltowski, D.A.
Nutrition Environments in Low Income Schools
National Research Initiative Grant, USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Human Nutrition and Obesity Program
$895,000 (Total Costs)

Dzewaltowski, D.A. (PI)
The Healthy Opportunities for Nutrition and Physical Activity (HOP'N) Childcare and Home Environment Project                                                      United Methodist Health Ministry Fund
$217, 758



Recently Completed Projects

Estabrooks, P. (PI), Dzewaltowski (Co-Investigator)
Individual and Environmental Mechanisms of Physical Activity Change
NIH-NIDDK 1R01DK070553-01 Subcontract Through Kaiser Permanente-
$2,428,040 (Total Costs)

Rosenktranz, R. (Project Director) & Dzewaltowski, D.A. (PI)
Girl Scouts Family Connection for Health Promotion
Sunflower Foundation
$77, 501 (Total Costs)

Ford, P. (Project Manager) & Dzewaltowski, D.A (PI).
Enhancing the capacity of rural communities to understand and create health food environments in areas with limited access to grocery stores.
Sunflower Foundation
$149,672 (Total Costs)

Dzewaltowski (PI)
Healthy Out-of School Places Overweight Prevention Project (HOP'N After-School Project)
To test if a framework that integrates community and youth development with the implementation of evidence-based programs can prevent youth obesity. Intervention strategies include community development, after school program environmental change, and evidence-based curriculum (CATCH) promoting healthy eating and physical activity.
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service/USDA
$900,000 (Total costs)
HOP'N After School