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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Delta Obesity Prevention Research

2011 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
The Dietary Guideline (DG) Stars pilot program was completed and focused on using nutrition education and physical activity (PA) to encourage adaption of fruit and vegetable (FV) intake among children ages 11-14 years. A final data collection for the 3-month follow-up (after the ending of the DG Stars Intervention) was completed on a subset of the participants. For the school age children's project, the project manual of procedure was finalized and a branding of the project was completed (DG Stars). Agreement was established with Natchez-Adams school district to conduct research activities for the full intervention, which will involve 3 different schools in Mississippi. We held meetings with Vicksburg Junior High School to gain entrance into the school system for research purposes. Several phases of the women's intervention were complete, specifically focus groups were completed with limited-resource African American women with school-aged children in several Mississippi counties. The purpose of the focus groups was to discuss eating behaviors regarding FV consumption, nutrition knowledge of MyPyramid for eating FV, and the presence of social support to consume FV. A curriculum created by Cornell University Extension Program was selected as the nutrition education medium for the nutrition education portion of the "Mothers Helping Others (MHO)" intervention. It has been reviewed by an expert panel for relativity to Southern culture. Additions to the curriculum will include the new 2011 MyPlate guidelines. In the MHO program, we have finalized the type of questions that will be used in the research protocol and the type of data collection that will be conducted, including physical measures: height, weight, and blood pressure. Furthermore, manuals of operations have been completed for the research, including the MHO Data Collection Manual, the MHO Training Manual for Data Collection (anthropometric/physical), and the MHO Interviewer Training Manual. Contractual agreements have been created between Alcorn and Northeastern Univ. (Boston, MA) to provide Alcorn with the Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), nutrient analysis of the FFQ, and HEI score analysis of the FFQ for each participant. Focus groups were completed on 120 school-aged children looking at children's knowledge of the DG related to FV intake and PA, knowledge and usage of the website, and eating behavior among this age group. After review and analysis of the DG Stars focus group discussions, an abstract was submitted to the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE 2011), titled " Knowledge and Access among Rural Southwest Mississippi African American Adolescents" and will be published in the September 2011 Journal of the American Dietetic Association and presented at the FNCE 2011 Conference. The information, gathered and identified thru these focus groups, gives insight into the marketing of the MyPyramid/MyPlate website to youth. The ADODR monitors activities for the project by routine site visits, quarterly project review teleconferences for peer review of progress, and annual research workshops.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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