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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; 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:
During FY 12, the University of Southern Mississippi implemented a study to assess the effectiveness of two nutrition education interventions, delivered through women's social and civic organizations in the Delta, to promote adoption of eating patterns from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. One program focused on five key messages from the dietary guidelines (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and Solid Fats and Added Sugars). The second program focused on Solid Fats and Added Sugars. A total of 320 participants across 16 organizations provided baseline data upon enrollment during June/July 2011. During August, the 16 organizations were assigned to one of the two education programs in such a way as to avoid clustering of organizations in close geographic proximity to different programs, as well as to ensure similar education and group size across the two education programs. In September/October, a second data collection occurred to allow the researchers to determine whether a "placebo" effect from anticipation of participating in a nutrition program had occurred. Analyses revealed no significant differences between the enrollment data and pre-intervention data for the Healthy Eating Index component scores, indicating no placebo effect had occurred related to self-reported food intake. Three part-time nutrition educators from the intervention region were hired and trained in October to deliver the education sessions. The Delta field coordinator was also trained to deliver the education sessions. The education sessions for the intervention began in November and continued for six months until April 2012. Post-intervention data were collected in May-June 2012. Response rates for post-intervention data collection indicated that 75% of the participants remained in the intervention during the 6-month period. Our original target was 70% retention of participants.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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