Dr. Kendra Kattelmann (nutrition education), Dr. Jessica Meendering (physical activity) and Dr. Lacey McCormack (public health nutrition) collaborate to direct the Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Laboratory at SDSU. Together, these researchers contribute to our understanding of how environments and education impact diet and physical activity behaviors of individuals throughout the lifespan, especially among rural populations.
Areas of Focus/Current Research Projects
Graduate Research Assistants that work in the Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity Laboratory gain valuable experience in all aspects of the research process and work toward publication of their thesis work. Below are examples of projects that students are currently involved in and thesis/dissertation topics currently being researched:
- Examining associations between school wellness policies and school environments in elementary schools
- Determining the availability of ‘traditional’ foods in grocery and convenience stores in rural South Dakota
- Exploring the associations between the home food environment and preschool child diet, physical activity and weight status
Do you want to join our team? Apply through the link on the Graduate School and indicate your interest in working with us. Funded graduate students work between 10-20 hours and receive a monthly stipend in addition to tuition remission.
If you’re an undergraduate student interested in gaining research experience, please contact us via email for potential volunteer opportunities.
Read more about the individual researchers here:
iGrow Readers Project
To combat obesity among South Dakota’s youth, SDSU Extension developed iGrow Readers. This program pairs children’s books such as Little Red Hen, Bread & Jam for Francis, and Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun, with activities that promote healthy eating and physical activity. A transdisciplinary team spent five years testing the program, and the resulting data showed that children who participate in iGrow Readers were more likely to try new foods, and to ask their parents for nutritional items when they grocery shopped together.
This is a free resource for parents, teachers and childcare providers. The curriculum utilizes popular and commonly available books that can be purchased or checked out from a local library. Eight Native American storybooks (marked with an * below), also promote the South Dakota Department of Education Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings.