Marilyn Magaram Center



Working under the auspices of the CSUN Values Statement, which seeks Alliances with the Community, and the Center for Community Engagement, this project aimed to confront childhood obesity, which is prevalent in the low income, predominantly Latino community of Van Nuys – a small suburb of Los Angeles, California.

Van Nuys currently suffers from a childhood obesity rate of 29%. This rate ranks amongst the highest in the Los Angeles County. The goal of this project was to reduce the obesity rate to 9% by the end of 2013.

In order to accomplish this goal the Principal Investigators of this project, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Northridge Hospital Center for Healthier Communities, implemented a multi-component, comprehensive intervention at three Van Nuys Elementary Schools: Cohasset Elementary, Anatola Elementary and Gault Elementary.

The project intended to improve physical fitness education through training and lesson plan development, the promotion of physical activity during recess and lunch time and improving the healthy eating behavior of the students through Nutrition and Garden Education.

Faculty members from the departments of Kinesiology, Health Science and Nutrition at California State University, Northridge with the help of 260 students carried out the goals proposed by the project.

This project reached over 2,500 children within the Van Nuys community and their parents. Additionally, this project advanced the Housing and Urban Development Department’s Strategic Plan to invest in building sustainable communities.


The USDA-NIFA grant seeks to accomplish the following goals:

Objective 1:

To increase the enrollment of Hispanic graduate nutrition science students
Facilitate outreach efforts about graduate academic programs and careers in nutrition science.
Award Hispanic students intending to apply to graduate programs in nutrition science subsidies to take the graduate record exam.

Objective 2:

To increase the two year graduation rate of Hispanic graduate nutrition science students
Award tuition scholarships to Hispanic graduate nutrition science students
Engage Hispanic graduate nutrition science students in a lactation education practicum experience

Objective 3:

To increase the professional competencies of Hispanic graduate nutrition science students in the area of lactation education
Develop and offer graduate Nutrition Science students a course in lactation education.
Develop and offer a lactation education practicum experience for Hispanic graduate nutrition science students.
Develop and issue a university certificate of course completion to students completing the lactation education course.