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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
Pennington Biomedical Research Center researchers established contacts in Point Coupee parish (county), for the purpose of conducting an environmental audit of physical activity resources in the parish, developing culturally appropriate educational materials for the feasibility study, and completing the data collection instruments for the feasibility study. Institutional Review Board approval for the feasibility study was also received within FY10. Additionally, the feasibility study was initiated and completed. Research space was identified in the Parish, and PBRC researchers established a remote data collection site. The interventionists were trained on all aspects of data collection as well as the delivery of the intervention, and equipment was purchased and put in place at the data collection site. Widespread recruitment efforts in the Parish led to the screening of 116 potential participants on the telephone. After screening for inclusion and exclusion criteria, the final sample on which data was collected was 60 participants, who were randomized equally into the intervention and control groups of the study. The inclusion criteria included being between the ages of 35 and 64 years, having a Body Mass Index between 25 and 34.9 kg/m2, and being able to walk comfortably. The exclusion criteria included having any cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, neuromuscular, neurological, or psychiatric problems, having musculoskeletal problems interfering with exercise, having immunodeficiency problems, or malignancies in the last 5 years. Further, any other medical condition or life threatening disease that could be aggravated by exercise was a reason for exclusion. The characteristics of the participants were approximately 63-70% Caucasian with the majority being female. The data from the feasibility study has been double-entered into a database, and statistical analysis is in process. In addition to the study outcome data, the participants completed a qualitative exit survey with the PBRC interventionists related to identifying barriers and facilitators to their ability to complete the study protocols. This information will be used to help design a large intervention study to determine the effectiveness of increasing physical activity in the Lower Mississippi Delta at preventing obesity and weight gain. Further, in addition to the work on the feasibility study, two manuscripts have been prepared during the year that describe formative research conducted using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which will also be used to develop the protocol for the larger intervention study. The ADODR monitors activities for the project by routine site visits, quarterly project review teleconferences, and annual research workshops.

4. Accomplishments
1. Research presence in the community. In order to conduct research studies in the rural Delta, identification of a site for conducting research and establishing a presence in the community is critical. Pennington Biomedical Research Center researchers, as part of the Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit, Little Rock, Aarkansas, successfully established a presence in the community by identifying a visible space and initiating widespread communication efforts using local radio and newspaper. This has promoted the successful recruitment of participants for the study. It will also allow for future research efforts in the community. As a result, the level of participation has been enhanced and provides a greater likelihood of research success with improved health for this rural Louisiana population.

Last Modified: 08/18/2017
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