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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Delta Obesity Prevention Research

2009 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; and 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
USM scientists have engaged in dissemination of findings from the Hollandale NIRI intervention to end users, namely community groups throughout Mississippi. They have also undertaken further analysis of data from Delta NIRI datasets, primarily focusing on questions of adaptation and adoption of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans by at risk populations. Collaboration is ongoing with scientists of ARS Mid-South Area for further data analysis on FOODS 2000 and the HEI 2005 scores of residents of the Delta USM scientists planned and hosted the Delta OPRU workshop to share all of the research project plans from ARS and all Cooperators of Delta OPRU. Opportunities for further collaboration were explored. Monitoring of cooperator's performance and adherence to conditions of the agreement was accomplished by 2 site visits, 2 research workshops, quarterly reports containing budgetary materials, progress towards goals and objectives, conference calls and numerous emails.

4. Accomplishments
1. Development and reliability testing of an instrument to measure social support, self-efficacy, and decisional balance for eating behaviors among southern women: Although theory-based instruments to measure changes in psychosocial constructs related to health behaviors have been developed, there are currently few that target-specific dietary habits related to Healthy Eating Index-2005 subcomponents specifically identified as inadequate among southern women living in the Mississippi Delta. An instrument was developed to measure social support, self-efficacy, and decisional balance for eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and decreasing sugar-sweetened beverages among southern women living in the delta region of Mississippi. Internal reliability was assessed using Cronbach's alpha coefficient. Each subscale of the instrument had good reliability as indicated by a Cronbach's alpha of at least 0.7 with the exception of the subscale for sugar-sweetened beverages. Modifications to the sugar-sweetened beverages items will undergo further reliability testing in another sample of women in the Mississippi Delta. The development of a reliable instrument to measure changes in psychosocial constructs related to specific dietary behaviors will enable researchers to better assess the effectiveness of nutrition interventions.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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