Studies Conducted by the Foundation

The Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren (HOPS) Study

The Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren (HOPS) Study is an innovative study designed to test the feasibility of a holistic nutrition and healthy lifestyle management program in the elementary school setting that is modeled every day in each school cafeteria. HOPS involves almost 13, 500 children from 23 elementary schools in central FL and Buffalo, NY. Through HOPS, the Agatston Research Foundation seeks to thematically integrate healthy dietary offerings, nutrition and lifestyle educational curricula, increased levels of physical activity, and other school-based projects, such as school gardens, with the goal of improving the well-being and academic performance of elementary-aged children in a manner that is replicable in other public school settings. Specifically, HOPS:

  • Tests the feasibility of including nutritious ingredients and whole foods - including high-fiber, whole-grain, and lower added-sugar items - acquired through existing public school food distribution networks in breakfasts, lunches, and snacks in the elementary school setting.
  • Explores the overall acceptance and adoption of an exciting set of curricula that teaches elementary school-aged children and their parents, teachers, and school staff about nutrition and healthy lifestyle management.
  • Tests the feasibility of creating fruit and vegetable gardens in the elementary school setting, with the goal of teaching children how the nutritious fruits and vegetables that are served at their school cafeterias, their homes, and in restaurants are grown, cultivated, and harvested.
  • Measures the effect of all HOPS interventions by collecting data on every child twice a year (fall/baseline data collection and spring/follow-up data collection), including children in control schools that do not participate in study interventions.

Popular coverage:
"Food Fights: Will More Healthful School Lunches Really Make Kids Less Fat?" by Lisa Belkin. Cover story of The New York Times Magazine, August 20, 2006. Click here to read the article.

"Study Finds, When Combined With Nutrition Education, Healthier Foods Are Accepted By Elementary School Children In Florida," AP Wire, August 2006.

"Down to Earth," by Perrie Layton, about the HOPS School Gardens published in Organic Gardening, Dec. 2006/Jan 2007. Click here to read the article.

Conference presentations:
2006
Almon, M, Gonzalez, J, Agatston, AS, Hollar, TL, Hollar, D (2006, July). The HOPS Study: Dietary Component and Nutritional Analyses. Annual Nutrition Conference of the School Nutrition Association. Los Angeles, CA.

Almon, M, Gonzalez, J, Agatston, AS, Hollar, TL, Hollar, D. (2006, September). The Dietary Intervention Of The Healthier Options For Public Schoolchildren Study - A School-Based Holistic Nutrition And Healthy Lifestyle Management Program For Elementary-Aged Children. 2006 American Dietetic Association Annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. Honolulu, HI.

2007
Hollar, D, Hollar, TL, Agatston, AS (2007, February-March). School-based Early Prevention Interventions Improve Body Mass Index Percentiles: Preliminary Results of the HOPS Study. 47th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention, American Heart Association. Orlando, FL (poster).

Hollar D, Lombardo M, Gonzalez J. (2007, May). The Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren (HOPS) Study: School-based dietary changes combined with nutrition and healthy lifestyle programming work! Kids Being Healthy Expo. Baltimore, MD (oral presentation/workshop).

Hollar D, Hollar TL, Agatston AS. (2007, July). School-based Early Prevention Interventions Improve Body Mass Index Percentiles: Preliminary Results of the HOPS Study. 40th Annual Conference of the Society for Nutrition Education. Chicago, IL (poster).

Hollar D, Gonzalez J, Hollar TL, Agatston AS. (2007, July). School-based Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle Obesity Prevention Program Shows Success. 40th Annual Conference of the Society for Nutrition Education. Chicago, IL (poster).

Hollar, D., Hollar, T.L., Agatston, A.S. (2007, July). School-based Early Prevention Interventions Improve Body Mass Index Percentiles: Preliminary Results of the HOPS Study. Annual Nutrition Conference of the School Nutrition Association. Chicago, IL (poster).

Gonzalez J, Hollar D, Hollar TL, Agatston AS. (2007, July). The Continuation and Expansion of Dietary Interventions of the Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren Study - A School-Based Holistic Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle Management Program for Elementary-Aged Children. Annual Nutrition Conference of the School Nutrition Association. Chicago, IL (poster).

Gonzalez J, Almon M, Agatston A, Hollar D. (2007, October). The Continuation and Expansion of Dietary Interventions of The Healthier Options For Public Schoolchildren Study - A School-Based Holistic Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle Management Program for Elementary-Aged Children. 2007 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE). Philadelphia, PA (poster).

Agatston AS, Hollar D. (2007, October). Providing healthy school meals to children - they will eat them! 2007 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE). Philadelphia, PA (oral presentation).

Gonzalez J, Hollar D, Lombardo M. (2007, October). The Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren (HOPS) Study: School-based dietary changes combined with nutrition and healthy lifestyle programming work! 2007 Florida After School Alliance, Orlando, FL (oral workshop/presentation).

Hollar D, Hollar TL, Agatston AS. (2007, October). School-based Early Prevention Interventions Improve Body Mass Index Percentiles: Results of the HOPS Study. The Obesity Society's 2007 Annual Scientific Meeting, New Orleans, LA (oral presentation).

Hollar D, Hollar TL, Agatston AS. (2007, October). School-based Early Prevention Interventions Improve Body Mass Index Percentiles: Preliminary Results the HOPS Study. American Academy of Pediatrics' 2007 National Conference & Exhibition, San Francisco, CA (oral presentation).

Hollar D, Hollar TL, Agatston AS. (2007, November). School-based dietary, nutrition education, and physical activity interventions improve body mass index percentiles: Preliminary results the HOPS Study. 135th Annual Meeting & Exposition of the American Public Health Association, Washington, DC (poster).

Hollar D, Hollar TL, Agatston AS. (2007, November). Creating a culture of wellness in elementary schools: An evidence-based prevention study. 2007 National Prevention and Health Promotion Summit, Washington, DC (oral presentation).

Hollar D, Hollar TL, Agatston AS. (2007, November). School-based early prevention interventions decrease body mass index percentiles during school year, but children experience increase in percentiles during summer. AHA Scientific Sessions 2007, Orlando, Florida (oral presentation)

Publications:
Almon M, Gonzalez J, Agatston AS, Hollar TL, Hollar D. The dietary intervention of the Healthier Options for Public Schoolchildren Study - A school-based holistic nutrition and healthy lifestyle management program for elementary-aged children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2006; 106(8): A53.

Hollar D, Hollar TL, Agatston AS. School-based early prevention interventions improve body mass index percentiles: Preliminary results of the HOPS study. Circulation 2007, February 26; online.

HOPS Study Research Team:

Danielle Hollar, PhD — Principal Investigator
Arthur S. Agatston, MD — Co-Principal Investigator
T. Lucas Hollar, BA — Data Manager
Jacy Wooley, BA — Research Coordinator
Michele DiBono, BS — Research Assistant
Marie Almon, MS, RD — Nutrition Director
Melanie Fox, EdD — Educational Consultant

Click here for preliminary results of HOPS 1 and HOPS 2.

Foundation Collaborative Studies

The Effect of Diet on Inflammation Mediators and Adult Stem Cells

The Effect of Diet on Inflammation Mediators and Adult Stem Cells Study, funded by the Agatston Research Foundation, is being conducted by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, FL. In recent years, it has become apparent that inflammation plays a prominent role in heart disease as well as other chronic conditions (such as Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and cancer), potentially by injuring adult stem cells. Adult stem cells arise from the bone marrow and travel to various tissues of the body to repair injuries. As a first step in improving our understanding of how poorly functioning stem cells relate to inflammation and chronic disease, this study is being performed in rats - animals that easily develop diabetes when they gain weight. During the study, the rats will be fed either a typical, high-saturated fat, refined-carbohydrate Western diet or a Mediterranean diet, which includes healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates. Then, the rats will be evaluated to determine the effect of each diet on inflammation and stem cell function.

Popular coverage:
"Of Mice & Men," by Robyn Nissim, Medicine: The Magazine of the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, 8(3), Winter 2007.

The Effect of Diet on Inflammation Mediators and Adult Stem Cells Study Team:

Keith Webster, PhD — Principal Investigator
Professor
Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Director
Miami Vascular Biology Institute

University of Miami School of Medicine
Rosenstiel Medical Science Building
1600 NW 10th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33136

The South Beach Diet® and Acne Study

The South Beach Diet and Acne Study, jointly conducted by the Agatston Research Foundation and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, seeks to understand the effectiveness of diet on the presence of acne. Observational studies support the theory that non-Westernized populations, which tend to have lower refined-carbohydrate and lower fat diets, have a lower prevalence of acne, but no systematic studies have been conducted to fully support or refute this theory. Thus, this study will provide data to inform the current literature about the effect of diet on the presence of acne. If the data supports the theory that healthier foods decrease the presence of acne, the Agatston Research Foundation hopes to use this information to encourage young people to choose healthier foods.

Click here if you are interested in participating in a brief, anonymous, non-commercial, university-based questionnaire about the South Beach Diet and acne. This survey was created by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Skin Research Group which has no affiliation with the South Beach Diet Trademark Limited Partnership nor the Agatston Research Foundation.

The South Beach Diet and Acne Study Team:

Brian Berman, MD, PhD — Principal Investigator
Professor of Dermatology and Internal Medicine
Panta Rouhani, MPH — Study Coordinator
MD/PhD Program

Miller School of Medicine
University of Miami
2023A Rosenstiel Medical Science Building (RMSB)
1600 N.W. 10th Avenue
Miami, FL 33136

Foundation Grant Recipients

Carbohydrates in Beer, Wine and Foodstuffs: Composition, Calorie Contents, and GI Values

The Carbohydrates in Beer, Wine and Foodstuffs: Composition, Calorie Contents, and GI Values, funded by the Agatston Research Foundation, is being conducted by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, FL. The study, which commenced in February 2007, aims to determine the carbohydrate composition and caloric contents of beer, wine and foodstuffs with the goal of creating new basic science knowledge in this important area of nutrition.

Carbohydrates in Beer, Wine and Foodstuffs Team:

William J. Whelan, D.Sc., FRS — Principal Investigator
Editor-in-Chief, IUBMB Life
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

The Effect of a Low-Processed Carbohydrate, Relatively High-Protein Diet Enriched with Mono- and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Weight Loss, Body-Fat Loss and Distribution, and Cardiovascular Disease Mechanisms in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome

This study, funded by the Agatston Research Foundation and taking place at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, tests the effectiveness of using diet to reverse metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes). The goal is to determine whether a low-processed carbohydrate, relatively high protein diet enriched with mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids can reduce weight and body-fat percentage - two key cardiovascular risk factors - as well as improve markers of cardiovascular disease in patients with metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes). Data on several risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome will be collected at baseline, mid study (six months), and follow-up (after 12 months) on 60 patients who receive nutrition counseling from dietitians throughout the study.

Mayo Clinic Study Research Team:

Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, MD — Principal Investigator
Sandra Bjerkness, RD, LD, BSc — Co-Investigator
Kim Edens, RD, BSc, MSc — Co-Investigator
Justo Sierra Johnson, MD — Co-Investigator
Fatima Kuniyoshi, MSc in Physiology Sciences — Co-Investigator
Abel Romero, MD — Co-Investigator
Virend Somers, MD, PhD — Co-investigator
Susan Leathes, RN — Study Coordinator
Anne Odland, RN, BSN — Study Coordinator
Jennifer Alkhamis, BA — Research Assistant

Mayo Clinic
200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905