Source: NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE UNIV submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2011
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2014
Grant Year
Project Director
Williams-Wheeler, M.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Family and Consumer Sciences
Non Technical Summary
Rural communities are commonly defined by the types of economic activity, distance from urban areas, low degree of urbanization as well as the low population size and density (Hunter, Gaylor, Britnell and Ashford-Works, 1998). Rurality impacts education, economics, culture as well as access to health care. More specifically, the scarcity of health professionals and limited access to health care are of major concern to children and families living in rural areas. According to Health People 2010 "people living in rural areas are less likely to use preventive screening services, exercise regularly... Timely access to emergency services and the availability of specialty care are other issues for this population group" (p.16). Therefore the proposed outcome is to identify the cultural, environmental and familial influences of obesity among African-American children and to inform parents, educational and other community officials of the healthy disparities that plague young children.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Knowledge Area
703 - Nutrition Education and Behavior; 724 - Healthy Lifestyle;

Subject Of Investigation
6020 - The family and its members; 6010 - Individuals;

Field Of Science
3020 - Education;
african-american children
rural obesity
community influences
cultural beliefs
parental influences
physical activity
Goals / Objectives
A Community Health Assessment identified two of the top 12 health concerns of the identified county (Halifax) as lack of recreation and youth activities and overweight and obesity. Halifax county is considered a low-resourced rural with a high percentage of African-American children who are overweight/obese and at-risk for long term health-related problems. The primary aim of the study is to develop a tailored healthy nutrition model that is culturally and developmentally appropriate for African-American children who are overweight and have obesity concerns. Through experimental and non-experimental data analyses, the following objectives will be addressed: 1. Examine how nutritional influences (knowledge/availability/accessibility) impact the rate of weight gain in African-American children. (microsystem perspective) 2. Eamine how nutritional influences (knowledge/availability/accessibility) impact children's eating behaviors and physical activity. (mesosystem perspective) 3. Examine how nutritional influences (knowledge/availability/accessibility) impact parents' behaviors on health risks and obesity rates in African-American children (exosystem perspective) 4. Examine how nutritional influences (knowledge/availability/accessibility) impact community demographic factors, i.e. SES, culture. (macrosystem perspective) One of the proposed outputs of the project is the development and implementation of culturally and developmentally appropriate program/model entitled "We R Movin' Halifx". Through focus groups, workshops and intervention program model, we expect to see a change in dietary habits and physical activity of African-American children in Halifax County. It is expected that children will begin to adopt healthier lifestyles through behavioral modifications and increasing physical activity. Children will increase their awareness of diseases and illnesses that disproportionately affect them and understand the need to make healthy food choices and increase physical activity. The proposed program curriculum, "We R Movin' Halifx" is aligned with the federal initiative on childhood obesity to bring awareness and motivation to the rural African-American community. This will be a socially and culturally specific curriculum that will include monthly workshops, nutritional seminars, and health fairs for children as well as parents; educating them to make healthy choices, increase physical activity, and identifying access to healthy and affordable foods in the rural community. The "We R Movin' Halifx" model/program will enhance awareness and knowledge of health disparities among African-American children living in Halifax County. This model will be facilitated by project researchers and other trained individuals who work closely with African-American children and their families. There will be a parenting component of the "We R Movin' Halifx" model to identify a change in parenting health beliefs and strategies that promotes healthy behaviors and practices in the family.
Project Methods
The proposed project will have a quasi-experimental design including both qualitative (interviews, focus groups) as well as quantitative (questionnaires) methodology. One hundred African-American mothers with children ages 5-9 will recruited for the project. Participants will be recruited through public announcements. Those expressing an interest will be scheduled for an appointment at the local cooperative extension office or public library. Parents will sign a consent form and their child signed assent form. Parents will complete a demographic questionnaire and the parent and child's weight, height, and body composition will be measured. Qualitative. To study children's health behaviors and beliefs, a qualitative research design will be employed. Parent focus groups will also be conducted to understand the influence on parental health beliefs and practices on health-related concerns and obesity in young children. Focus groups will be used to "determine and explain the factors that influence food-related choices and behaviors in the target population". These results will guide the design and development of intervention materials. Focus groups and interviews will be conducted using a semi-structured moderator's guide and recorded. Informed consent will be gathered from parents to participate in the ethnographic observations focus groups. Three specific aims of the project are: Identify key factors that influences risky health behaviors and health outcomes in African-American children. Enhance African-American parents and children's knowledge of health disparities and improve motivation for physical activity and healthy eating. Develop a culturally and developmentally appropriate health/nutrition intervention model for children that will improve awareness and knowledge of obesity and other health risks. Quantitative. Child participants will complete an assent form to participate in the health interventions/assessments as well as to complete questionnaires addressing dietary and health beliefs, cultural factors and healthy food choices. Project investigators will provide tailored health messages and present the following health assessments: 1) OrganWise Guys curriculum and 2) CAN Fit P.H.A.T. To evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the health interventions, pre- and post test will be used. SPSS software will be used to conduct analyses and verify relationships between health beliefs and practices to activity level and risk for obesity. Regression analyses will be conducted to observe any relationship between income, family structure, and child gender as it relates to obesity and limited physical activity. Triangulation methods will be employed that comprise the focus group results as well as the survey results from the health assessment and questionnaires. In order to develop a model that could be effectively tailored to young children, the investigators will explore the following issues: major barriers to making healthier food choices, main motivators of dietary change, specific eating, food beliefs and knowledge and preferences in educational materials, including other nutrition-related topics.

Progress 01/01/11 to 12/31/11

OUTPUTS: The co-investigator made initial contact with a local minister and a community leader in Halifax County who both have agreed to collaborate on the project. Halifax county is a low-resourced rural county with a high percentage of African American children who are overweight/obese and at-risk for long term health-related problems. The primary aim of the proposed study is to develop a tailored healthy nutrition model that is culturally and developmentally appropriate for African American families living in rural communities. Using a phenomenological methodology, the following objectives will guide the project: 1. Identify how the knowledge/availability/access-ibility of nutritious foods impact the physical activity and eating healthy behaviors of children/families, applying a microsystem perspective. 2. Identify how the availability, accessibility and quality of nutritious foods in grocery stores, convenience stores, and or farmer's markets, as well as in school cafeterias, impact the physical activity and healthy eating behaviors of children and families from a mesosystem perspective. 3. Examine how the health and nutrition programming efforts at the county health departments, Cooperative Extension and other civic organizations impact the physical activity and healthy eating behaviors of children and families, applying an exosystem perspective. 4. Examine how the community and demographic factors, cultural beliefs, family practices/beliefs impact the physical activity and healthy eating behaviors of children and families, from a macrosystem perspective. PARTICIPANTS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

African American parents in Halifax County who participate in the project will be the primary beneficiaries of the projects' findings. It is expected that as a result of participating in the project, children and parents will make more healthy decisions regarding food selection and preparation, parents will prepare more nutritious meals and children will eat more healthy snacks. Also, children and parents will be more involved in physical activity and outdoor play. Community stakeholders will be able to translate the expected outcomes into more culturally and developmentally appropriate programming, focusing on healthy behaviors and nutritious foods for African American children.


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