Featured APS New Member 


Tom Baranowski, PhD, is Professor of Pediatrics and Senior Member of the Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity group within the USDA funded Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Baranowski received his undergraduate degree in Politics from Princeton University (’68) and his masters (’70) and doctorate (’74) in Social Psychology from the University of Kansas.

He is founding President of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Editor-in-Chief of both the Games for Health Journal and Childhood Obesity, and on the editorial advisory boards of six other professional journals.

Dr. Baranowski’s primary research focus has been developing and evaluating video games for changing diet and increasing physical activity among youth. Video games offer an attractive, engaging medium into which behavior change procedures can be inserted, thereby capitalizing on the child’s immersion in, and enjoyment of, games and story to enhance the intervention effect. His team designed several games targeted at children’s diet and/or physical activity change: “Squire’s Quest!” among 4th graders; “Fun, Food and Fitness” among 8-year-old African American girls; “Fit for Life” badges for Boy Scouts; and “Escape from Diab” and “Nanoswarm: Invasion from InnerSpace” among 10-12 year olds. He worked with colleagues in Hong Kong to test the acceptability and applicability of “Diab” for use with Chinese elementary school students and with colleagues in the MD Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Hospital to test the acceptability of “Diab” and “Nano” with pediatric cancer patients and survivors.
He was an early leader in the development of self-report indicators of dietary intake among children and led the team that did the formative research for the development of ASA24-Kids, a computer-assisted self-completed method of diet assessment among children, currently available on the NCI website. He consulted on the development of comparable methods for children in England, Portugal, and Brazil. This led to his team’s current efforts to adapt a camera procedure (taking images at 4 second intervals throughout the day) developed by Mingui Sun and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh to capture the needs and abilities of 9+ year old children. This method offers the promise of substantially reducing error in the assessment of children’s dietary intake.
Dr. Baranowski was PI on one of the first dietary and physical activity interventions for children and families, wrote several book chapters in the 80’s and 90’s summarizing what was known about family influences, and was the first to assess home food availability and accessibility on children’s dietary intake, a consistently prominent predictor. He published a theory-based validation of measures of effective and ineffective vegetable parenting practices among young children, and a Model of Goal Directed Behavior to elucidate why parents might use effective or ineffective vegetable parenting practices, thereby providing an empirically tested foundation for the design of food parenting interventions. He authored a recent narrative review of the obesity prevention interventions among childrens’ literature to identify the many limitations in predictiveness along the supposedly causal pathways from intervention to adiposity.

Previously Featured APS New Members for 2017

Previously Featured APS New Members for 2016

Previously Featured APS New Members for 2015

Previously Featured APS New Members for 2014

Previously Featured APS New Members for 2013