Memphis Needs $200,000 to Study Why Kids Gain Weight

Steve Cohen

The Feds are forcing taxpayers to fork over nearly $200,000 so researchers in Memphis can analyze whether stress makes kids fat.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, (D-TN-9), announced the money, exactly $189,929, in a press release late last week.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases — part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services — gave the money to the University of Memphis. The formal name of the project is The Impact of Stress and Resilience on Obesity-Related Metabolic Complications in Adolescents.

“Childhood obesity is a national epidemic and Tennessee’s childhood obesity rate is a staggering 38 percent,” Cohen said in the release.

The national childhood obesity rate is 31 percent.

“This award will help researchers at the University of Memphis study youth obesity, its causes, and find solutions on how to reduce it,” Cohen said.

More specifically, according to the press release, the grant will fund research to study “the relationship between stress and resilience in youth and how it can lead to childhood obesity.”

Cohen defined resilience as how “one adapts to trauma, tragedy, and threats.”

Idia Binitie Thurston, the Director of CHANGE Lab at the University of Memphis, will lead the research project, according to the press release.

As The Tennessee Star reported, up until at least 2014, Cohen, complained too many Tennessee’s kids were malnourished and starving and only government could step in to fix the problem.

And, yes, Cohen got grant money for that.

He took to the floor of the House and introduced an amendment to add $3 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service program.

That program gives free food to kids in the summer — at a time when they can’t get free and reduced lunches at school.

Cohen went on to say “the wealthiest nations in the world should not send its children to bed hungry.”

This year, however, according to Cohen’s office, too many Volunteer State children are pudgy.

Hence the new grant money.

Last month, Cohen announced the new Reducing Obesity in Youth Act that he said will create grant programs to encourage kids to exercise and eat healthy.

In introducing the bill, Cohen cited health care and national security concerns — the military, for instance, will not take 70 percent of people aged 17 – 24 for weight reasons.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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2 Thoughts to “Memphis Needs $200,000 to Study Why Kids Gain Weight”

  1. Tammy

    Seriously!!!? What a waste of money!!! How about all the quick, sugar/grease-laden food that is consumed, too much time spent indoors and/or tethered to tech devices,,and the absence of phys ed requirements in school! That money could be better spent on playground equipment, nutrition classes,,etc…

    But leave it to West Tennessee ’’s biggest idiot to throw more money away!

    1. Shey

      AGREE! Kids need to go outside – play and work! Get off their butts and get rid of the tech toys! Do that and save the money! Cohen will pocket it or put it in an account for later.