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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DELTA OBESITY PREVENTION RESEARCH PROGRAM

Location: Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit

Title: Community and academia partnerships: a description of the lower mississippi delta nutrition intervention research initiative project

Authors
item Ndirangu, Murugi -
item Yadrick, Kathy -
item Graham-Kresge, Susan -
item Hales, Brent -
item Avis, Amanda -
item Bogle, Margaret

Submitted to: International Journal of Public Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 7, 2010
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD) region of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi is among the poorest and areas of the United States. The people in the LMD eat foods high in fat, and little fruits and vegetables. Health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, being overweight, diabetes, and cancer are high. In 1995, the United States Congress through the USDA’s Agriculture Research Services provided funding for the Lower MS Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative (Delta NIRI). The Delta NIRI Initiative was a group of seven institutions of higher education and research from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and the Agricultural Research Services (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The primary goals of the Delta NIRI project was to measure nutrition and health status in the LMD and to develop nutrition programs using methods that included community members. The Delta NIRI committees were formed a partnership of community members, universities, and the USDA-ARS. This allowed the partners to share knowledge and skills. Community members benefited from working with the universities and USDA-ARS partners by gaining resources and research knowledge. The universities and USDA-ARS benefited from the community by gaining an insider’s view of the community. Community participation is important for the success of community-university partnerships. Participation gives power to individuals, organizations and communities to make decisions that affect them. Community and university partners in this study agreeded that participation of community members in the NIRI committees’ activities was important in achieving the objectives of the Delta NIRI project.

Technical Abstract: The Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD) region of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi is among the poorest and most disadvantaged areas of the United States. The diets of the people in the LMD are high in fat, and consumption of fruits and vegetables is low. Chronic conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer rates are high. In 1995, Congress through the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service funded the multiyear Lower MS Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative (Delta NIRI) project. The Delta NIRI project was a consortium of seven institutions of higher education and research from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and the Agricultural Research Services (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The primary goals of the Delta NIRI project was to evaluate nutrition and health status in the LMD and to design, implement, and scientifically evaluate nutrition interventions using community participatory methodologies. In this paper, we describe the functioning of the Lower Mississippi Delta NIRI project community-academia partnerships. We also discuss the structures used to gain community participation to address nutrition issues.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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