Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity Lab (BNPAL)

 Wordle

Welcome!

Dr. Sisson conducts her research in the Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Laboratory in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Research in the lab focuses on promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors such as dietary intake and physical activity in children to prevent lifetime chronic disease such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer.  Physical activity, nutrition, and sedentary behavior epidemiology are areas of expertise. Early childcare and education settings are of particular interest and Dr. Sisson actively collaborates with many Native American tribes and nations in Oklahoma.

Dr. Sisson’s personal and professional vision is to improve the health of young children.

It is the mission of the Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Laboratory to engage in high quality research and to develop the research, professional, analytical, critical-thinking, problem-solving, team-work and logistical skills of graduate student members.

Lab Director:
Susan Sisson, PhD, RDN, CHES, FACSM

Contact Information:

E-mail: susan-sisson@ouhsc.edu
E-mail: nutritionandactivitylab@ouhsc.edu
Office phone: 405 271-8001
Fax: 405 271-1560

Address:
College of Allied Health Department of Nutritional Sciences
1200 N Stonewall, Room 3057
College of Health Building
Oklahoma City, OK 73126-0901

Project Title: Happy, Healthy Homes
Dates: April  2017 – March 2022
The purpose of this project is to determine the nutrient intake of children in family child care homes and to test a local and state-wide intervention to enhance nutritional quality. This interprofesional project also aims to enhance environmental health and reduce children's exposure to chemicals in collaboration with the College of Public Health. This project is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title:  Sibling Influence on Subsiding Behaviors Related to Obesity
Dates: October 2016 – May 2018
The purpose of this project is to understand how family environment and sibling behaviors influence dietary and physical activity behaviors of preschool-aged children. This project is supported by the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Preschools, Parents and Physicians: Working Together to Curb Obesity in American Indian Children: Phase 2
Dates:  October 2016 – February 2018
The purpose of this project is Work collaboratively with stakeholders to develop a multi-level intervention to prevention obesity in American Indian children. The aim is to work directly with child care providers to provide support and resources to parents with key input and health care provider activities. This project is supported by the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Family Child Care Home Provider Experiences with Child Nutrition
Dates: December 2015 to May 2017
The purpose of this project is to understand Family Child Care Home provider difficulties with the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and to understand ways in which technical assistance and nutrition education and training can assist healthful meals to young children.  This project is a collaboration with the Oklahoma Department of Education and Oklahoma Department of Human Services. This project is supported by the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Obesity Prevention in Early Childhood: Statewide Assessment and Development of Action Plan (Executive Summary)
Dates: September 2015 to May 2017
The purpose of this project is to identify and conduct a network analysis of pivotal stakeholders regarding obesity prevention within Early Childhood Education (ECE) settings in Oklahoma. Additionally, gaps in policies, practices, and programs will be ascertained.  The action plan will provide clear, coordinated direction in meeting ECE obesity prevention best practices, as a state. This project is supported by the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Preschools, Parents and Physicians: Working Together to Curb Obesity in American Indian Children: Phase I (Summary - healthcare providers, Summary - parents, Summary - child care teachers)
Dates:  July 2015 to October 2016
The purpose of this project is to Understand knowledge, attitude, and beliefs about obesity prevention in young American Indian children from different stakeholders perspectives. Work collaboratively with stakeholders to develop an intervention to prevention obesity in American Indian children. This project is supported by Presbyterian Health Foundation.

Project Title: Assessing Current Status of Nutrition & Wellness Components in Child Care Centers Participating in Child and Adult Care Food Program (Technical Report)
Dates: April 2015 – May 2016
The purpose of this study is to interview teachers and staff and observe meal practices in child care centers participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. This project is supported by the National Food Service Management Institute and the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Understanding the Child Care Teacher and Director Role in Promoting Health Behaviors [PROJECT SUMMARY]
Dates: June 2014 - May 2016
The purpose of this project is to better understand, using qualitative research methodologies, how child care teachers and directors view their role in promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors. This study will be used to create a child care teacher focused intervention. This project is being conducted in partnership with the University of Oklahoma Department of Health and Exercise Science. This project is supported by OUHSC Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Validity of 5 Different Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Monitors in Adults with Unilateral Transtibial Amputation
Dates: March 2013 - May 2014
The purpose of this project is to determine if different commercially available physical activity monitors can accurately classify activities of varying intensity in unilateral adults with transtibial amputation. This project is being conducted with partnership from the OUHSC Department of Rehabilitation Science. This project is supported by the OUHSC Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Evaluation of Classroom Assessments for Obesogenic Environments for Preschool [PROJECT SUMMARY]
Dates: June 2013 - May 2014 
The purpose of this project is to compare two different classroom observation tools and determine if the globally utilized Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale can identify at-risk classrooms based on the Environment Policy Assessment observation and objectively measured physical activity. This project is supported by the OUHSC Department of Nutritional Sciences and The Infants, Toddlers, Twos & Threes Center.

Project Title: Child Care Influence on Health Outcomes in American Indian Preschoolers [PROJECT SUMMARY]
Dates: January 2012 - December 2014
The purpose of this project is to understand the relationship between the child care center (CCC) environment and obesity risk factors, including health factors and behaviors associated with overweight and obesity, in American Indian preschool children. Key health behaviors include body mass index percentile, dietary quality and physical activity. Thirteen Native American child care centers across the state participated in this project. This project was supported the Peggy & Charles Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Project Title: Obesogenic Environment of Child Care Centers and Child Health
[Summary - Access to outdoors and TV and physical activity; Summary - Staff food behaviors and child food intake; Summary - Dietary intake at child care and home]

Dates: September 2011 - May 2016
The purpose of this project is to determine if there is an association of the child care center environment on the health (height and weight ) and health behaviors (physical activity and dietary intake) of preschool children in Oklahoma. Additionally, we examined to access to outdoors, tv, and staff food behaviors. We also examined differences in food intake between childcare and home. This project is supported by the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Assessment of Obesogenic Policies in Oklahoma Child Care Centers
Dates: August 2010 - May 2011
The purpose of the project was to assess the nutrition and physical activity policies and practices in child care centers across the state of Oklahoma, representing each quadrant and metropolitan area. This project was supported by the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Family Decision Making and Obesogenic Behaviors
Dates: August 2010 - May 2011
The purpose of this project was to conduct family interview to develop greater understanding around the values and practices of families regarding TV viewing, particularly in children's bedrooms, and family meals. This project was supported by the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Project Title: Development of an Instrument to Measure Leisure Time Sedentary Behavior in Children
Dates: January 2010 - December 2010
The purpose of this project was to develop a short questionnaire which children and parents could complete that would detail all leisure time sedentary activity rather than just TV viewing. This project was supported by the OUHSC, College of Allied Health Research Seed Grant Program.

Doctoral Students

Chelsea Smith (2015 - 2018)
Assistant Lab Director (2016-current)
Graduate Research Assistant
First major project title: Association of Parental Anxiety and Depression and Parental Feeding and Obesogenic Parenting Practices
Dissertation Title: Sibling Influence on Subsiding Behaviors Related to Obesity

Bethany Williams (2017-2020)
Graduate Research Assistant
First major project title: Influence of Parenting Style and Children’s Health-Enhancing Behaviors on Children’s Adiposity
Second major project title: TBD
Dissertation Title: TBD

Master Students

Ashley Brice, RD (2015-2017)
Thesis Title: Family Child Care Home Provider Experiences with Child Nutrition

Sara Fortin (2017-2019)
Graduate Research Assistant
Thesis title: The Effect of Food Desert Status on Family Child Care Home Providers Practices and Quality of Meals

Colette Vartanian (2017-2019)
Graduate Research Assistant
Thesis title: Maternal Health Behaviors and Health Status Relationship with Family Health Behaviors

Kaysha Sleet (2017-2019)
Graduate Research Assistant
Thesis Title: Teaching Teachers: The Impact of Staff Feeding Behaviors Training on Staff Feeding Behaviors in Rural Tribally-Affiliated Early Care and Education Centers

Catherine Grantham (2017-2019)
Thesis Title: Prevalence of Early Care and Education Environments in Food Deserts and Distance to Accessible Foods in Oklahoma

Kayla Quahsie (2017-2019)
Thesis Title: Maternal Anxiety and Depression and Obesogenic Parenting Practices

Affiliated Lab Students

Megan Kish (2017-2018)
Project Title: Environmental Health in Family Child Care Homes

Undergraduate Students

No current Undergraduate Students

Doctoral Students

Michelle Dennison-Farris, PhD, RD (2012-2016)
First major project title: Assessment of Sugar Sweetened Beverage Intake, Physical Activity Behaviors, and BMI in Native American Children in Oklahoma
Second major project title: Obesogenic Behaviors and Depression in Native American Preadolescent Children
Dissertation Title: Association Between Depressive Symptoms, Obesegenic Behaviors, and Cardiometabolic Health of Preadolescent Children

Katy Swyden, MS, RD (2013-2016)
Assistant Lab Director (2015 - 2016)
Graduate Research Assistant (2013 - 2015)
First major project title: Relationship Between Parental Concern and Perception of Child Weight and Obesogenic Parenting Practices
Second major project title: Association Between Maternal Stress, Work Status and Feeding Practices Among Preschool Children
Dissertation Title: Family Structure as Moderator of Family Meal Frequency: 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health

Master Students

Devon Walker, RD, MS (2015-2017)
Graduate Research Assistant
Study Coordinator, Obesity Prevention Action Plan
​Thesis Title: Obesity Prevention in Early Childhood: Statewide Assessment and Development of Action Plan

Diana Wiley, MS (2014 - 2016)
Project Title: Integration of Nutrition Education into Interdisciplinary Preschool Program of Children with Communication Disorders

Alexandria Benear, MS, RD (2013-2015)
Thesis Title: Preschooler Physical Activity and Sedentary Time and Access to Outdoors and TV at Child Care

Megan Krampe, MS , RD(2013-2015)
Thesis Title: Difference in Dietary Intake at Child Care by Age, Sex, & Obesity Status

Alicia Nelson, MS (2014-2016) 
Graduate Research Assistant 
Thesis Title: Difference in Food Consumption Between Child Care and Home in Young Children

Katherine Anundson, MS, RD (2014-2016)
Graduate Research Assistant 
Thesis Title: The Role of Staff Behaviors on Dietary Intake in Young Children

Andrea Knowlton, MS, RD (2012-2014)
Graduate Research Assistant
Study Center Liason: Evaluation of Classroom Assessments for Obesogenic Environments at Preschool
Thesis Title: The Association Between the Home Media Environment, Food Consumption, and Child Health

Joshua New, MS, RD (2013-2014)
Thesis Title: Association Between Motor Development Screening and Physical Activity Level in Preschool Children.

Cassie Veal, MS  (2012-2014)
Graduate Research Assistant
Thesis Title: Convergent Validity of Physical Activity Devices in Ambulatory Adults with Unilateral Transtibial Amputation

Leslie K. Sitton, MS, RD (2011-2013)
Measurement Coordinator: Child Care Influence on Health Outcomes in American Indian Preschoolers
Thesis Title: Body Fat and Dietary Fat: Effect on Postprandial Glucose and Lipid Metabolism in Adolescents

Ruth Adamiec, MS, RD (2011-2013)
Study Center Liaison: Child Care Influence on Health Outcomes in American Indian Preschoolers
Thesis Title: Assessing the Macronutrient and Micronutrient Intake of Children in Child Care Centers

Liz S. Ramey, MS, RD  (2010-2012)
Study Coordinator: Family Decision Making and Obesogenic Behaviors
Study Co-Coordinator: Sitting versus Light Activity and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Influence of a High Fat Meal
Thesis Title: Family Attitudes and Beliefs Related to Family Dinners

Andrea M. Sellmeyer, MS, RD  (2010-2012)
Thesis Title: Family Physical Activity: Evidence from Family Interviews

Ashley E. Anderson, MS, RD (2010-2012)
Study Co-Coordinator: Sitting versus Light Activity and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Influence of a High Fat Meal
Thesis Title: High Fat Diet and Endothelial Function in Adolescents

Ashley M. Frampton, MS, RD  (2010-2012)
Study Coordinator: Physical Activity During Pregnancy and Health Outcomes in Infants, Assessment of menus in Oklahoma child care centers
Thesis Title: Physical Activity during Pregnancy and Health Outcomes in Infants

Lauren N. Outhier, MS, RD  (2011-2012)
Thesis Title: Feeding practices and healthy eating support in urban and rural childcare centers

Kellie B. May, MS, RD  (2010-2012)
Study Coordinator: Assessment of Obesogenic Policies in Oklahoma Child Care Centers
Thesis Title: Staff Education and Healthy Eating in Child Care Centers

Mary Beth Mitchell, MS, RD (2009-2011)
Graduate Research Assistant
Thesis Title: Eating Patterns, Physical Activity, and TV Viewing in Children

Affiliated Lab Students

Seerat Nasir (2015)
Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources Summer Scholar
Project Title: Difference in Home Food Availability Based on Child Weight Status

Chelsea Smith (2014-2015)
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Thesis title: Influence of Ethnicity on Obesity, Physical Activity and Dietary Intake of Young Children in Child Care

Chelsea LaTorre (2013)
University of Oklahoma, Community Counseling
Project Title: Role of Family Structure in Obesogenic Behaviors

Colleen Hobbs (2012-2014)
University of Oklahoma, Department of Health and Exercise Science
Thesis Title: Daycare Directors’ Child Outdoor Playtime Policy during Varying Weather Conditions

Undergraduate Students

Hannah Landreth (2012-2013)
Project Title: The Most Common Foods Grade-School Children Snack on While Watching Television


Chelsea Smith and Dr. Tomasek, Vice President of Research. Graduate Research and Education Technology Symposium (GREAT) Office of Research Administration Award for Outstanding Research award recipient 2017



Chelsea Smith, doctoral student, and Dr. Sisson at GREAT 2017



End of the year lab party: Kelly Kerr, Ashley Brice, Chelsea Smith, Devon Walker, Susan Sisson, Cady Merchant



End of the year lab party: May the Fourth By With You


20162015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011