Submitted to: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 4, 2011
Publication Date: March 17, 2011
Citation: Champagne, C.M., Mccabe Sellers, B.J., Allen, R., Bogle, M.L. 2011. Can small changes in a summer camp program for the rural impoverished make a difference in healthy eating?. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). 25:974.9.
The current epidemic of obesity now affects children, impacting rural as well as urban areas. Nutrition education efforts in the rural Delta are a challenge due to the inability to work with children/families closely. The Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit (DOPRU)has established a relationship with entities in Phillips County and outlying areas through a summer camp program. Beginning in 2007, the program continues to the present time and into the future. In 2007, DOPRU reviewed menus and identified changes needed. Subsequent years introduced changes to incorporate more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, along with dairy choices. Camp included access to food and focused on nutrition, physical activity, and social/behavorial sessions conducted by DOPRU trained student interns. To assess dietary intake, students consented to 24-hour dietary recalls collected at beginning and end of camp in 2007 (n=120), with a third collection one month post camp in 2008 (n=73) and 2009 (n=36). Total HEI scores averaged 45.2% in 2007, 43.6% in 2008, and 45.0% in 2009, compared to a reported HEI score for children 6-11 years of 54.7% reported nationally. These children compared to national estimates, consumed fewer fruits, vegetables and milk; diets high in fat and saturated fat; and high levels of sodium and other discretionary calories. An emphasis on whole grains in the 2009 camp resulted in a doubling of the HEI score (max=5) from 0.4, to 0.5, to 1.0 years in 2007, 2008, and 2009 respectively. Despite small changes with positive results, Delta children continue to have lower overall and component HEI scores compared to national counterparts. Interventions to increase awareness of healthy diets which include family participation are desperately needed and plans are in place to bring families on board with nutrition education efforts.