Newswise — Washington D.C. – Join childhood nutrition researchers as they share their latest findings in a series of May webinars hosted by the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences.

Scholars from Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center (ACNC) — a National Human Research Center established as a partnership between Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and USDA-ARS — will be sharing their most recent findings during a planned series of webinars slated for May 17, May 23 and May 26, 2022. ACNC researchers also serve as faculty members at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

The webinar series will focus first on the early life determinants of metabolic health to be followed by a second webinar on the gut and developing brain. The final webinar will address maternal and child dietary patterns and physical activity.


May 17

Early Life Determinants of Metabolic Health: Impact of Fitness and Physical Activity

In adults, physical fitness is a strong predictor of cardiovascular and all-cause morbidity and mortality. However, the role of early life physical activity and fitness in modifying cardiometabolic health trajectories — and whether the impact of exercise/physical activity interventions vary across different periods of development — are poorly understood. The following speakers will present:

Introduction to and Overview of the ACNC

Mario Ferruzzi, Ph.D., Director, ACNC; Chief, Section of Developmental Nutrition, Dept. of Pediatrics, UAMS


Obesity, Fitness and Cardiometabolic Health in Children

Elisabet Børsheim, Ph.D., Associate Director, ACNC, Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics, UAMS


Development and Optimization of Rodent Models to Study Metabolic Health across the Lifespan

Craig Porter, Ph.D., Investigator, ACNC; Associate Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics, UAMS


May 23

Focus on the Gut and the Brain

This webinar will discuss the effects of the fetal environment and postnatal feeding behaviors on infant gut, immune system and brain health. The speakers will describe data on the role of maternal weight status on brain development, and the impact of chosen feeding regimens on brain and cognitive development and on infant gut and immune system. This will lead to additional information concerning the impact of weight status in children and adolescents on cognitive function and academic achievement. The following speakers will present:

The Impact of Feeding Behaviors on Cognitive Development in Children

Linda Larson-Prior, Ph.D., Director, ACNC Brain Function Lab; Director, Neurocognitive Dynamics Lab, UAMS


Diet, Activity and Body Weight Status: Impacts on the Developing Brain

Xiawei Ou, Ph.D., Director, ACNC Brain Imaging Lab; Professor of Radiology and Pediatrics, UAMS


Milk, Microbes and Metabolism: Lessons Learned from Animal Models

Laxmi Yeruva, Ph.D., Research Leader, USDA-ARS, ACNC


May 26

Maternal and Child Diet and Physical Activity

Progress in our understanding of maternal programming of offspring metabolism will be summarized, followed by a review of interventions that may mitigate such effects. In addition, maternal determinants of human milk composition that affect children’s growth and body composition will be explored. The following speakers will present:


Prenatal and Postnatal Programming of Health

Aline Andres, Ph.D., Associate Director, ACNC, UAMS


Implementation Science to Improve Diet and Physical Activity in Early Life

Taren Swindle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Family and Preventative Medicine, UAMS


Please join us for all three webinars which will run for 90 minutes starting at 10-11:30 a.m. ET for each webinar. For more information and to register for these free webinars, click here.


IAFNS is a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) provider with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Pending CPE approval, CDR Credentialed Practitioners will receive 1.0 Continuing Professional Education Unit (CPEU) for completion of either the live or recorded viewing of each webinar.

Register here.


About Arkansas Children's

Arkansas Children’s is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas’ more than 700,000 children. The private, non-profit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs — all focused on fulfilling a promise to define and deliver unprecedented child health. To learn more, visit  

About UAMS

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.


The Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS) is committed to leading positive change across the food and beverage ecosystem. IAFNS is a 501(c)(3) science-focused nonprofit uniquely positioned to mobilize government, industry and academia to drive, fund and lead actionable research. For more information, visit

Other Link: IAFNS ACNC 3-Part Webinar Series