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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit

2009 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The mission of the Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit is to conduct nutrition research to prevent obesity in at-risk, rural populations in the Lower Mississippi Delta of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is coordinating a major research endeavor that brings together the talents of ARS and other research cooperators in a tri-state region to accomplish the following: .
1)Identify barriers and facilitators to adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DG) and examine how differential profiles of adherence relate to obesity in children and adults of the Delta region (ARS HEALTH study);.
2)Extend the behavioral knowledge gained from ARS research studies and other food availability and food cost surveys in the Delta, to adapt existing DG eating patterns, such as the USDA Food Guide (MyPyramid) and the DASH Eating Plan, for the Lower Mississippi Delta population. Test the developed eating patterns for nutritional adequacy and feasibility of adoption by the Delta population. Concurrently, adapt DG physical activity recommendations for the Delta population and examine feasibility of adoption;.
3)Evaluate the effectiveness of the adapted DG eating patterns, with and without physical activity, in reducing weight gain and risk factors for obesity-related chronic disease in the Lower Mississippi Delta population through the use of interventional studies. Determine if diet-gene relationships underlie the effectiveness of the adapted eating patterns.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit, in partnership with other ARS laboratories and research cooperators, has developed a strategic plan to improve the health of at-risk, rural populations of the Lower Mississippi Delta through obesity prevention research. Utilizing multi-faceted research approaches, this endeavor will provide a greater understanding of this population's adherence to national dietary guidance for prevention of obesity and reduced risk for obesity-related chronic disease through the use of dietary and physical activity interventions using established scientific study designs and methods meeting the requirements for evidence based reviews. This cooperative research seeks solutions to these complex challenges through multidisciplinary team research and through cooperation with the general public, local government, policy makers, other institutions and agencies. Research internships addressing the objectives above may be created for university students in the tri-state area.

3.Progress Report

In addition to published manuscripts, PBRC, in collaboration with the USDA, ARS Delta OPRU, continues to work on several manuscripts using data from the FOODS 2000 study; one manuscript will try to determine whether the Delta population can achieve the DASH dietary patterns. This work is still in progress. Work continues on the finalization and validation of a Child Food Frequency Questionnaire for the Delta population. The summer research activities of 2008 and 2009 in Phillips County, Arkansas, will provide additional data to support this activity and begin the validation of the instrument. The intervention, PUSH (People United to Sustain Health) in Franklin Parish, LA, addressed the problems associated with poor diet and lack of physical activity. It focused on a healthy weight status and included concepts and behaviors consistent with initiating and maintaining weight loss. Two cohorts of individuals (n=89) were randomized into the educational intervention for 24 weeks each. A provision of produce was an important part of the intervention as well. Approximately 50 completed the study, for a completion rate of 56%. End of intervention measurements have been completed. By September 2009 we anticipate that all data collection and entry will be finalized, and we will begin the process of data analysis and drafting of manuscripts. Our partners, Southern University and Delta OPRU, will be an important part of the final data analysis and writing, having played an important role in the PUSH project. Upon final receipt of data and securing statistical assistance, a follow-up meeting will be scheduled for the PUSH writing group to discuss data output and direction of papers. That group includes investigators from Pennington, ARS, Southern University, and the LSU Ag Center. An investigator from LSU will be participating as a statistician. This intervention will help to drive future efforts in Delta obesity prevention research. We will further investigate the impact of interventions that focus on improving diet and physical activity patterns have had in this population, utilizing those participating in this study and other similar interventions. Monitoring of cooperator's performance and adherence to conditions of the agreement was accomplished by two site visits, two research workshops, quarterly progress reports containing budgetary material, progress towards goals and objectives, review of publications and manuscripts in progress, conference calls and numerous emails.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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