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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Delta Obesity Prevention Research

2010 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
FY10 progress was associated with the school-aged children research intervention and developing a program of nutrition education and physical activity for middle school children. Alcorn State University (ASU) researchers began the project using the Exercise Your Option curriculum created by the Dairy Council of California and a physical activity curriculum created by ASU. Memorandums of Understanding were updated in Claiborne and Jefferson County schools districts, that are located within rural southwest Mississippi. Claiborne County School (Port Gibson Middle School) received and distributed consent forms to student population. The Jefferson County Middle School was accommodating to the ASU researchers and allowed for quantitative and qualitative data collection and research to begin in October 2009. Students were given consent forms to take home to parents. Two hundred thirty-nine middle school-aged children in Jefferson County returned completed consent forms giving ASU research team consent to have the children participate in the research taking place in that schools. Hinds County School (Utica Middle School) was contacted repeatedly in the fall of 2009 with no success. Utica Middle School was involved in a grant with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi and Project Fit America. No additional conversations have taken place regarding ASU's program for this school. A baseline Manual of Procedure was created for the school aged children's research. In addition, research staff were hired and trained to conduct focus group sessions as moderators and recorders, to collect anthropometric data, to administer pre-test post-test data collection tools, and to conduct the intervention with minimum support. In Jefferson County Middle School, 26 focus groups were conducted with a total of 162 participants (61% Female). Focus group data is being analyzed and prepared for manuscript writing. Moreover, the middle school study was completed for year one at Jefferson County Middle School to include pre-test and post-test data collection related to demographics, anthropometric data, nutrition knowledge and behavior, physical activity knowledge and behavior, and physical fitness levels. There were 196 students that completed pre-test data collection and 227 students that completed the post-test data collection. The differential in the numbers is related to changes in the class schedule at the middle school. Some attrition may have also been related to scheduling changes as well as student changing schools. Alcorn State University is working with a statistician within the ASU system to address the analysis needs of this data collection and will seek additional counsel from statisticians working on other projects in ARS. There was some preliminary work done to address the mother intervention proposed by ASU. The creation of the 21-day rotation menus was completed in this current year. Year two will be the year of manual development and execution of the mothers' intervention at ASU. The ADODR monitors activities for the project by routine site visits, quarterly project review teleconferences, and annual research workshops.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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