$4.8 million grant will help prevent rural childhood obesity
Two College of Public Health and Human Sciences faculty received a $4.8 million grant to develop an obesity prevention program for children in rural Oregon.
Project directors Deborah John and Kathy Gunter were awarded $4,878,865 to start the program, called “Generating Rural Options for Weight-Healthy Kids and Communities.” Deborah and Kathy hold faculty positions in the college and OSU Extension Family and Community Health.
“Rural populations, particularly rural children are often faced with fewer personal choices to support healthy lifestyle behaviors – fewer places to walk or bike ride safely, buy fresh, healthy foods and snacks, participate in organized physical activity and/or sport programs, and possibly less time in the day for families to share healthy, nutritious meals and play actively together, “ Deborah says. “The result is an energy equation that is out of balance – too many calories in, not enough calories burned.”
Cooperative Extension in Oregon and six other Western states will develop a plan to prevent obesity among rural children and field test it in rural communities within three Oregon counties: Clackamas, Columbia and Klamath. The grant is awarded through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
The team used the assessments to begin an obesity-intervention program in September 2012 to improve the body mass index among rural children aged 5-8 years old.
$4.7 million USDA grant will help Oregon teens stay healthy
College of Public Health and Human Sciences Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist Siew Sun Wong and Professor Melinda Manore were awarded $4.7 million by the USDA to start the program “WAVE~Ripples for Change: Obesity Prevention for Active Youth in Afterschool Programs Using Virtual and Real-World Experiential Learning.”
About 500 active teens ages 14 to 19 will engage in three different life skills programs, including a real-world scenario where teens learn about growing their own food, cooking and preparing healthy, inexpensive meals at home, and staying active.
The other two programs use cutting-edge technology to create virtual environments where teens will practice these same skills but as an avatar in a 3-D virtual world. One virtual world will be “realistic,” based on the real environment; the other will be a fantasy world where anything is possible.
At the end of the five-year project, researchers will examine the data to see which of the three programs resulted in better outcomes. The goal is to see how teens who are already physically active due to involvement in team sports can develop lifestyle skills that will stay with them past school age.
“These youths are active now, but what happens when they don’t have a team sport to motivate them?” Melinda says. “Many parents of active teens allow their kids to eat unhealthy food, because they don’t worry about their weight. This is about building healthy behavior that becomes part of their life.”
The project’s OSU team members include faculty from nutrition and exercise sciences, engineering, Information Services, Extension, SNAP-Ed educators, KidSpirit and 4-H programs. Other participants include Bob’s Red Mill, Cooking Matters at the Store, Marion-Polk Food Share, the University of Arizona and San Diego State University’s Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health.
Endowment to increase healthy eating, whole grain education
Renee Carr is new Moore Family Center endowed outreach coordinator
A relationship dating back nearly 20 years has evolved into a partnership that will help increase healthy eating awareness in the community, state and nation.
As part of a gift to Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences (CPHHS) from Bob and Charlee Moore of Bob’s Red Mill, CPHHS’ Extension Family and Community Health specialist Renee Carr has been named the Moore Family Center (MFC) endowed outreach coordinator.
Renee, who serves on multiple statewide nutrition committees and manages the SNAP-ED program for low-income youth and families (Portland POWER-UP Program), will work in partnership with Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health Endowed Director Emily Ho.
“This position with the MFC increases our capacity to do outreach and enhance some of the projects we are currently working on,” Renee says. “For example, in our work with myplate.gov – making half of your grains whole grains – we’ll be able to teach youth ways to cook whole grains including hands-on experiences seeing whole grains up close and feeling their texture with samples.”
Renee and her team will begin implementing whole grain messaging with 20 K-8 schools in the Portland/Metro area in 2014. This whole grains pilot will later be shared through the statewide and national Extension system.