mzMi Zhang, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is part of the team led by Jiying Ling, Assistant Professor of College of Nursing, that received a new NIH award to use Facebook and participatory learning to prevent obesity in head start preschoolers.

This project aims to determine the preliminary efficacy of an innovative intergenerational intervention among Head Start preschoolers, aged 3-5 years, and their caregivers. This research project extends beyond prior research that focuses only on the unidirectional influence of caregivers on preschoolers with a bidirectional approach that also emphasizes the influence of preschoolers on caregivers. The potential for sustainability and scalability is high because the intervention is integrated into daily routines and capitalizes on the already-existing social network Facebook to connect caregivers to an online private group. It facilitates the communication of preschooler preferences to improve caregivers’ parenting practices through preschooler letters sent to caregivers via Facebook messenger.