• The effect of a nutrition intervention on parents living in a rural Georgia community

      Elliot-Walker, Regina; Hayes, Dawn; Oraka, Emeka; Lewis, Rashunda; Leon, Andre; Brenau University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Childhood obesity is a concern for public health organizations. Nearly one in four children living in rural communities are obese, and children living in rural Georgia communities are no exception. For rural communities, prevention efforts are needed to address challenges to reducing childhood obesity. The objective of the present effort was to increase the knowledge of parents in a rural community of the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption and other healthy options. Methods: The “We Can Energize Families” curriculum, developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute was implemented in a rural Georgia community. Pender’s Health Promotion Model, which encompasses the theory of persons taking a self-management approach in their health lifestyle, provided the framework. Participating in the study were 21 parents who had at least one child between the ages of 9-13. Outcome measures, adapted from the 16 measures relevant to the original “We Can Energize Families” objectives, were assessed, incorporating measures related to energy balance, portion size, healthy eating, physical activity, and screen time. Paired-T tests were used to evaluate increases in parents’ knowledge of the benefits of consumption of fruits and vegetables. Statistical significance was determined at p < 0.05. Results: There were improvements in 9 of the 16 measures, including knowledge of research and energy balance; attitudes regarding energy balance, portion size, and healthy eating; and behaviors regarding healthy eating, healthy food, physical activity, and screen time. However, improvements were not evident for behaviors related to portion size, knowledge or attitudes pertaining to physical activity, or attitudes regarding screen time. Conclusions: Particularly in rural communities, parents can contribute to prevention of childhood obesity. The present results demonstrate