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Children's Nutrition Research Center - Faculty

Houston, Texas

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Children's Nutrition Research Center - Faculty
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Tom Baranowski, Ph.D.

Tom Baranowski, Ph.D.Professor of Pediatrics (Behavioral Nutrition), Baylor College of Medicine


Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Behavioral Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Research with Children

Major accomplishments: Authored or co-authored over 300 peer-reviewed articles, 40+ non-peer reviewed articles, 30+ book chapters, two editions of a textbook on methods of evaluation for health promotion programs and editor of four special issue volumes. Founding President of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity ISBNPA (2003). Editor-in-chief of the Games for Health Journal, and on the editorial advisory boards of 11 professional journals.

My research over the last 30+ years has been directed toward understanding why children eat the foods, and engage in the physical activities they do, as well as designing and evaluating programs, including video games, to help change these dietary and physical activity behaviors to help prevent obesity.

My areas of expertise and interest include:

  • Developed and evaluated the earliest family based lifestyle change pilot intervention (diet and physical activity) for families with children, which led to the first family based lifestyle intervention for African American families. Helped pioneer innovative approaches to recruiting families for intervention, and wrote several reviews of the families and health (diet and physical activity) literature and families and obesity.
  • Created and psychometrically tested measures of child fruit and vegetable preferences, fruit and vegetable self efficacy, physical activity self efficacy, home fruit and vegetable availability and accessibility, several indicators of food parenting, several influences on home fruit and vegetable availability, scales for a new Model of Goal Directed Vegetable Parenting Practices, among other variables.
  • Been a leader in the design and evaluation of interactive multimedia with video games for changing diet and physical activity (6 studies), which have resulted in promising outcomes.
  • Authored the first two reviews of serious video games for health behaviour change (Am J Prev Med 2008, JPA & Health 2011).
  • Created a pilot video game to train parents of 3-5 year olds in effective vegetable parenting practices.

Key Messages

  • Child fruit and vegetable intake reflects many influences from multiple levels (e.g. internal to the child, family, school, neighborhood).
  • Food in the home environment, i.e. home FV availability (FV in the home) and accessibility (FV in a form and location that children could easily access), are related to child FV intake.
  • FV intake tracks through childhood.
  • Effective interventions use known behavior change procedures to change the influences on FV intake enough to change the behavior.
  • Innovative methods are needed to promote change using media that appealed especially to children, which should enhance effectiveness, e.g. Games for Health.

Survey Documents

Downloadable surveys sorted by study. Click on the study to go to the appropriate document downloading page.

Representative Publications

Baranowski T, Beltran A, Chen TA, O’Connor T, Hughes S, Buday R, Baranowski J. Structure of corrective feedback for selection of ineffective vegetable parenting practices in a simulation game. Games for Health Journal. 2013; 2(1):29-33.

Baranowski T, Frankel L. Let’s get technical! Gaming and technology for weight control and health promotion in children. Child Obes. 2012; 8(1):34-7.

Beltran A, Baranowski J, O’Connor T, Hughes S, Nicklas T, Baranowski T. Alpha test of a video game to train parents in effective vegetable parenting. Games for Health Journal. 2012; 1(3):219-22.

Lu AS, Baranowski T, Thompson D, Buday R. Story immersion of video games for youth health promotion: A review of the literature. Games for Health Journal. 2012; 1(3): 199-204.

Lu AS, Thompson D, Baranowski J, Buday R, Baranowski T. Story immersion in a health videogame for childhood obesity prevention. Games for Health Journal. 2012; 1(1):37-44.

Baranowski T, Islam N, Baranowski J, Martin S, Beltran A, Dadabhoy H, Adame S, Watson KB, Thompson D, Cullen, KW, Subar AF. Comparison of a web-based versus traditional diet recall among children. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012; 112(4):527-32.

Baranowski T, Islam N, Douglas D, Dadabhoy H, Beltran A, Baranowski J, Thompson D, Cullen KW, Subar AF. Food Intake Recording Software System, version 4 (FIRSSt4): A self-completed 24hour dietary recall for children. J Hum Nutr Diet. Epub 2012 May 23.

Baranowski T, Abdelsamad D, Baranowski J, O’Connor TM, Thompson D, Barnett A, Cerin E, Chen TA. Impact of an active video game on healthy children’s physical activity. Pediatrics. 2012; 129(3):e636-42.

Hingle M, Beltran A, O’Connor T, Thompson D, Baranowski J, Baranowski T. A model of goal directed vegetable parenting practices. Appetite. 2012; 58(2):444-9.

Barnett A, Cerin E, Baranowski T. Active video games for youth a systematic review. J Phys Act Health. 2011; 8(5):724-37.

Baranowski T, Baranowski J, Thompson D, Buday R. Behavioral Science in Video Games for Children’s Diet and Physical Activity Change: Key Research Needs. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2011; 5(2):229-33.

Baranowski T, Baranowski J, Thompson D, Buday R, Jago R, Griffith MJ, Islam N, Nguyen N, Watson KB. Video game play, child diet, and physical activity behavior change a randomized clinical trial. Am J Prev Med. 2011; 40(1):33-8.

Baranowski T, Baranowski JC, Watson KB, Martin S, Beltran A, Islam N, Dadabhoy H, Adame SH, Cullen K, Thompson D, Buday R, Subar A. Children's accuracy of portion size estimation using digital food images: effects of interface design and size of image on computer screen. Public Health Nutr. 2011; 14(3):418-25.

Baranowski T, Watson KB, Bachman C, Baranowski JC, Cullen KW, Thompson D, Siega Riz AM. Self efficacy for fruit, vegetable and water intakes: Expanded and abbreviated scales from item response modeling analyses. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2010; 7:25.

Baranowski T, Beltran A, Martin S, Watson KB, Islam N, Robertson S, Berno S, Dadabhoy H, Thompson D, Cullen K, Buday R, Subar AF, Baranowski J. Tests of the accuracy and speed of categorizing foods into child vs professional categories using two methods of browsing with children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010; 110(1):91-4.

Cerin E, Barnett A, Baranowski T. Testing theories of dietary behavior change in youth using the mediating variable model with intervention programs. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2009 Sep-Oct;41(5):309-18.

Baranowski T, Cerin E, Baranowski J. Steps in the design, development and formative evaluation of obesity prevention-related behavior change trials. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2009 Jan 21;6:6.

Baranowski T, Watson K, Missaghian M, Broadfoot A, Cullen K, Nicklas T, Fisher J, Baranowski J, O'Donnell S. Social support is a primary influence on home fruit, 100% juice, and vegetable availability. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jul;108(7):1231-5.

Baranowski JC, Baranowski T, Beltran A, Watson KB, Jago R, Callie M, Missaghian M, Tepper BJ. 6-n-Propylthiouracil sensitivity and obesity status among ethnically diverse children. Public Health Nutr. 2009 Dec 22:1-6

Baranowski T, Buday R, Thompson DI, Baranowski J. Playing for real: video games and stories for health-related behavior change. Am J Prev Med. 2008; 34(1):74-82.

Baranowski T, Cullen KW, Nicklas T, Thompson D, Baranowski J. Are current health behavior change models helpful in guiding prevention of weight gain efforts? Obes Res. 2003; 11 Suppl:23S-43S.

Baranowski T, Baranowski J, Cullen KW, Thompson DI, Nicklas T, Zakeri I, Rochon J. The Fun, Food and Fitness Project (FFFP): The Baylor GEMS Pilot Study. Ethn Dis. 2003; 13(1 Suppl 1):S30-9.

Baranowski T, Baranowski J, Cullen KW, Marsh T, Islam N, Zakeri I, Honess-Moreale L, deMoor C. Squire’s Quest! Dietary outcome evaluation of a multimedia game. Am J Prev Med. 2003; 24(1):52-61.

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