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Agricultural Research Service


Delta Dietary Guidelines Small Steps



The Foods Of Our Delta Study (FOODS) 2000 revealed that residents of the Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD) region had higher obesity rates and lower quality diets than their national counterparts using Healthy Eating Index scores, indicative of not following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 (DG) recommendations.  The long-term goal of this multi-step, multi-year research is to develop and assess the efficacy of an incremental adaptation and adoption of four dietary guidelines, whose health impact was demonstrated in the DASH and PREMIER clinical trials, in promoting healthier eating and healthier weight.  This research will be done in three Phases to develop a small steps approach with a set of tools termed the Delta DG Small Steps (Delta DGSS) Tool Kit. 

••         Phase I:  Data previously collected in the LMD will identify gaps in knowledge, skills, and behaviors that interfere with DG adherence.  These findings will be combined with new focus group data to generate a priority list of tools.  These culturally appropriate tools will be developed through an iterative process with a community advisory council working with ARS scientists/nutritionists to examine dietary and food store data.

••         Phase II: The Delta DGSSTool Kit will undergo feasibility testing with 18 focus sessions of family caregivers.  A community foodenvironment survey will assess local availability of recommended foods. 

••         Phase III:  An intervention to examine effectiveness in a target group of primary food gatekeeper/caregivers and their families will be compared to control caregivers and their families by anthropometric, nutritional and dietary assessment combined with biological assessment of blood pressure, biomarkers associated with fruit/vegetable intakes and other serum markers (e.g. cholesterol, glucose) for chronic disease risks.

















This larger study will examine how effective the Delta DGSS Tool Kit is in promoting DG adherence and preventing obesity over time in a target group of primary food gatekeepers for young families.  Contact Dr. Michael A. Grusak ( for additional information.    


Project Leader:

Dr. Michael A. Grusak, Lead