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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Delta Obesity Prevention Research

2012 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:
This year Alcorn State University's Delta Obesity Prevention Research project was actively involved in meeting the established 36-month milestone goals. At the beginning of the year the recruitment efforts were ongoing for African American mothers in Southwest Mississippi. However, due to difficulty in recruiting targeted audiences from counties saturated in research projects targeting the same audiences, the project was revised, as suggested by the previous Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit Executive Director. In addition, there were concerns regarding contamination of the research. Project revision has been completed, establishing one overall project, targeting caregivers of children enrolled in Head Start Centers in Southwest Mississippi. A branding of the project was completed as described in the project summary. Approval for the revised project was secured from the IRB at Alcorn State University and Delta OPRU Administration. We established an agreement between Alcorn State University and the Head Start Agencies governing Head Start Centers in Southwest Mississippi, the Mississippi Action for Progress (MAP) and (AJFC), to conduct research activities for the full intervention, which will involve multiple Mississippi counties including Claiborne, Franklin, Warren, Lincoln, Adams, Jefferson, Wilkinson, and Amite. We have made contact with AJFC and MAP, including attending their board meetings, to foster relationships and to gain entrance into the Head Start Centers for research. A curriculum created by Cornell University Extension Program in combination with the Mississippi State University Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Curriculum has been selected and modified as the nutrition education medium for the nutrition education portion of the research intervention. It has been reviewed by an expert panel for it to be relative to the Southern culture. Additions to the curriculum will include the new MyPlate guidelines. Decisions have been finalized regarding the type of questions that will be utilized in the research protocol and the type of data collection that will be conducted, including physical measure like height, weight, and body mass index (BMI). Manuals of operations have been selected and revised as needed for the research, including the Data Collection Manual, the Training Manual for Data Collection (Anthropometric), and the Interviewer Training Manual. Contact was made to establish contractual agreements between Alcorn State University and the Northeastern University in Boston, MA, in alignment with the revised project. The Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative (NIRI) Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQ) have been secured from Northeastern University. Northeastern University is slated to provide Alcorn with the nutrient analysis of the FFQ. Four training sessions have been conducted in the administration of the FFQ and techniques for other research data collection/activities. Nutrition and Dietetic Program Students, Extension Program Nutrition Educators, and Alcorn State University researchers were trained. Recruitment materials were provided to Directors at Head Start Centers for distribution prior to closing of the centers for summer. Additional recruitment packets have been prepared for continuation of recruitment when the centers open for the fall session. To enhance recruitment, preparation is underway to host recruitment fairs at community centers and churches, targeting caregivers of Head Start children in the targeted counties in early September 2012. Program implementation will begin in October 2012.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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