The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The university plans to use it to create a program that combines a Ph.D. with a master's in public health degree, focused on child obesity prevention.
Professor Sharon Donovan will direct the program. She says students will be taught to think broadly about child obesity because evidence shows no single approach is adequate.
Research topics will include nutrition, child development, family studies, physical activity, economics, and effects of the media.
Co-Director David Buchner says graduates will gain skills in dealing with one of the nation's most urgent public health problems.