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Tackling Childhood Obesity: Training Course in Healthy
Nutrition and Lifestyle for Caregivers and Children




Project Delivery Team


Grant A. Phillips, Student, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English, UNC
Charlotte

Connor Angus,
Student, College of Computing and Informatics, Dept. of Computer
Science, UNC Charlotte


Aleksandr A. Kornev, Student, College of Computing and Informatics, Dept. of
Bioinformatics, UNC Charlotte





Consultants


Leah Chester
-
Davis, Coordinator of “The Pro
duce Lady” Program, Communications and
Community Outreach, Plants for Human Health Institute, North Carolina State University


Robert Algozzine, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Education, UNC Charlotte


Jennifer B. Webb, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept.

of
Psychology, UNC Charlotte


Millie Maxwell, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, UNC Eating Disorders Program,
Dept. of Psychiatry, UNC School of Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill


Kelly Nordby, M.P.H, R.D., Coordinator of "Eat Smart Move More Weigh Less"
(ESMMWL)
Project, Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch, NC Division of Public
Health, NC Department of Health and Human Services










Abstract


Childhood obesity is, in large part, the result of poor nutritional choices and a sedentary
lifestyle. The role of
the home and school environment is particularly important to
physical activity and nutritional choices made by children and directly associated with
children’s unhealthy eating patterns and obesity. The proposed educational program is
centered on the premi
se that healthy lifestyle habits can be developed through a
structured education and proper training. Thus, we propose to provide caregivers and
elementary to middle school
-
aged children the necessary knowledge and training that
would lead to the developme
nt of a sustainable, life
-
long, obesity
-
free lifestyle.


Successful application of this program requires an interdisciplinary approach. We have
assembled an energetic project delivery team working in direct cooperation with experts
in community outreach, e
ducation, health and social psychology, pediatric medicine, and
physical fitness. Their expertise will be used in the development of classroom lecture
materials, and consultations throughout the duration of the project. Our approach will be
rigorous with a
n emphasis placed on achieving a qualitative outcome. The proposed
integrated educational program will be recommended for the inclusion in children’s
school curriculum, involve caregivers, school officials, and the local farming community
as one of the dir
ect contributors to the local healthy food supply.


The program will consist of healthy nutrition and lifestyle classes held weekly for
children and caregivers, participation in community gardening on weekends, and weekly
“Hiking for Health” outdoor physic
al activity sessions. The program will also provide a
direct market for local produce growers by connecting them directly with the Food
Acquisition officials in the Charlotte area School District.



Project Aims


This project has five distinct goals. Those

goals are:

1.

To educate caregivers and children regarding healthy, obesity
-
preventive nutrition
and lifestyle, and to reinforce the application of this knowledge into their
everyday routine;

2.

Implement a school lunch program high in produce and wholesome foo
ds for
elementary and middle school children;

3.

Implement “Hiking for Health” program as a joint school
-
child
-
caregiver weekly
outdoor physical activity sessions;

4.

Create a Community Garden administered by Local School District;

5.

Establish an ongoing relations
hip between North Carolina produce growers and
Charlotte area school systems.



Project Background


The idea for the proposed project was derived from the recent “Let’s Move” initiative by
Michelle Obama targeting childhood obesity in the United States. According to the
Lancet medical Journal, based on trends, half of all Americans will be
obese by the y
ear
2030 (
Gortmaker
, 2012
). The rate of obesity among children in the US has also been
climbing steadily, with thirty two percent of children now overweight and more than
seventeen percent obese (
Elder, 2009
).


The main causes of childhood obesity are low

physical activity, high sedentary behavior,
and consumption of calorie
-
dense, nutrient
-
poor foods. Steven Gortmaker (2012),
Harvard School of Public Health and his colleagues, have requested that the government
create policies combating obesity. These pol
icies include “taxes on unwholesome food
and drink (such as sugar sweetened beverages) and limitations on food and beverage
television advertising to children” (Gortmaker).


Along with regulatory measures, by the admittance of experts, there is an urgent n
eed for
effective childhood obesity prevention programs based on education and community
involvement (
Elder, 2009
). The role of caregivers is defined as critical in influencing
children’s behaviors through their upbringing practices. They exercise control
over food,
and their feeding styles are associated with children’s unhealthy eating patterns and
obesity (Faith, 2004). Thus, actively educating caregivers and ensuring their participation
in childhood weight control programs is also critical for optimal r
esults.


To summarize, a promising intervention of childhood obesity would be to employ an
integrated approach to the problem. This would involve children, school personnel,
family members, and local business community in activities that would provide stea
dy
change in awareness, such as learning about healthy nu
trition and lifestyle, and the
environmental change, such as engaging local restaurants to modify their menus,
establishing “walk to school” programs, etc. (Economos, 2007).

And this

is

the exact
pa
th that our project team has chosen.


Project Rationale


The significance of the proposed project lies in the utilization of aforementioned
integrated approach through educational outreach to children, caregivers, and schools. In
addition, the project aims

at the establishment of greater involvement between the local
school system and the local community of produce growers.


Along with the ultimate project goal
-

battling childhood obesity, the proposed project
will yield tangible economic outcomes. The fe
deral grant money for schools’ meals will
be
funneled

into the local economy, opening new markets for local produce growers, as
well as improving the food available to local children. A secondary economic benefit will
be sourcing produce locally, avoiding long transits and allowing for fresher food at a
redu
ced cost to the consumers.

Project Methodology


The project will consist of the literature review, the development of content for classroom
lectures, the development of content and participation guidelines for the “Community
Garden” and “Hiking for Health”

activity programs, the actual conduct of lectures and
activity programs, and administration of two surveys. The first survey will be
administered at the beginning of the project. This will result in the better understanding
of our target group’s subject m
atter knowledge, allowing for a tailored approach to
education. The second survey will be administered at the conclusion of the project. It will
provide us with data on subject matter knowledge improvement.

SPSS (Statistical
Package for Social Sciences) wi
ll be used to analyze the results.


This project will be completed in four main phases. The phases are:

1.

Extensive literature research and development of lecture and activity programs’
content;

2.

Survey administration and data analysis of preliminary survey;

3.

Commencement of classroom lecture sessions and activities (during the twelve
months period there will be four classroom lecture sessions a month, four activity
sessions in the community garden a month, and four outdoor physical activity
sessions a month);

4.

Compiling and publishing results


The
First Phase

of our project will be devoted to a review of recent (within the past 5
-
6
years) research articles and literature
. This phase will begin in May
of 2012. Once all the
literature is reviewed, the project team

will begin the development of content for
classroom lectures, and the development of content and participation guidelines for the
“Community Garden” and “Hiking for Health” activity programs. This will be conducted
under the direct advisory and in collabo
ration with the experts in community outreach,
education, health and social psychology, pediatric medicine, and physical fitness (they
are listed as “Consultants” on the title page of our proposal).


During
Phase Two

we will create the questions that our p
reliminary survey will ask.
These activities will take place in June of 2012. The survey will consist of 25 questions.
Questions will assess the participant’s knowledge of a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle.
Participants will be asked to assign a numeric
al value to each answer for each question.
Values range from 1
-
5 with the following defined degrees:

1.

Strongly disagree

2.

Disagree

3.

Neutral

4.

Agree

5.

Strongly agree

The survey questions will access the participants’ knowledge of the following aspects:





The
significance of maintaining healthy proportions of the main food groups;




The proper time of the day for consumption of certain foods;




The importance of how food is prepared;




The importance of food intake scheduling;




The importance of schedu
led physical activity as a part of healthy lifestyle;




The role of healthy sleep habits in weight control.



Also, the project team will administer this survey to the local community, focusing
especially on parents of elementary and middle school
-
aged c
hildren. The project team
will analyze the preliminary results of the administered study. We will use SPSS
(Statistical Package for Social Sciences) to analyze the survey data. Upon competition of
the survey, each participant will be given a gift certifica
te to the “Healthy Home Market”
food store in the amount of $10.00. This will allow us to formulate a basic idea of
available knowledge in the community at large, and allow us to hone in on participants
that may not be well understood.


During
Phase Three

(August 2012


August 2013), the 12
-
month project period will
start. We will begin to educate children and caregivers on nutritional content of fresh
produce, on the effects of pesticides/herbicides in the growth of consumed foods, and the
healthy lifestyl
e practices. Flyers and other invitation materials will be distributed to the
local community alongside the in
-
school education in collaboration with the existing
research group “The Produce Lady”

at the

Plants For Human Health Institute located at
the Nor
th Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.


Each week, local produce growers and food scientists from the NC Research Campus will
be invited to speak to parents, and elementary to middle school
-
aged children during the
classroom lecture, educating them on

general nutritional guidelines as well as answering
specific areas that may have been indicated as misunderstood by the survey. Each
meeting will consist of engaging activities directed by educators (with motivational
prizes awarded) and question and answ
er sessions.


Each week, on weekends, children, their parents, and school officials will be taking an
outdoor trip to local parks where they will be participating in the “Hiking for Health”
physical activity sessions. The session will include hiking, group

dancing, and other
cardiovascular type exercises.


Running concurrently with our education outreach will be a local community
-
driven
garden, located on school grounds and operated by volunteers from the farming
community as well as local community leaders
. While emphasis will be placed on
educating children as to the process of growing food, and getting them excited and
involved in growing produce, efforts will be made to bring in parents and local adults as
well, in order to maximize community involvement

and outreach potential. On weekends,
local farmers will also be able to have a small farmer’s market, allowing the local
community to buy fresh produce at reduced prices.


Lastly, a portion of the project funding will be used to implement a cost effectiv
eness
study to promote sourcing fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms for school
cafeteria consumption. Instituting a pilot program to test the feasibility and long term
costs of such a program will allow local farmers to benefit from an increased m
arket as
well as benefiting the health of students.


During

Phase Four
, we will attempt to publish the results of our survey and our project
methodology. We will submit our paper to the following journals:

1.

Agricultural Economics;

2.

The American Journal of
Economics and Sociology;

3.

The American Journal of Psychology;

4.

Adaptive Behavior


Project Timeline


Please see the attached Proje
ct Timeline page

for the graphical depiction.


Project Outcomes



The projects outcomes will be the implementation of integrated educational program in
battling childhood obesity, which will create a ripple effect, spreading outward from the
educational outreach to the community at large improving the lives and economic
prosperity of the greater Charlotte
-
Mecklenburg area. By introducing locally grown
produce, we impact the environment by avoiding long, pollution spewing transport, and
help inject new life into the local economy by supporting local produce growers.
Teachi
ng a new generation of children about proper health and nutrition will, one day,
benefit their children, and so on.



Project Team and Team Management


Grant Phillips

is a s
enior studying English and Technical Writing at the University of
North Carolina
at Charlotte. He was born in Presbyterian Hospital in downtown
Charlotte, and has lived in the area his entire life. His involvement in this project is
motivated in part by a desire to help others, and also his own struggles with childhood
obesity and poor

nutrition.


He was particularly involved with performing a preliminary Audience Analysis for this
proposal, and editing throughout the proposal. During the project itself, he will be heavily
invested in conducting weekly educational sections, as well as i
n delivering the
“Community Garden” activity program.

Connor Angus

is a s
enior studying Computer Science at the University of North
Carolina at Charlotte. He is known as an outstanding public speaker, and his community
connections in the Charlotte and Hun
tersville area of North Carolina. He was born in
Charlotte, North Carolina.

Residing in the town of Huntersville his entire life, he has
made a connection with many of the local people such as Mayor Jill Swain.

Having been
involved with many sporting act
ivities and athletic events in his lifetime, Connor
understands the importance of healthy eating and nutrition, and wishes to aid his
community with the knowledge that he has, by being one of the implementers of this
project.


He was particularly involved
with performing an extensive literature review, editing
throughout the proposal, and developing clear project timeline. During the project he will
be involved in community outreach activities, public speaking, conducting weekly
educational sections, and su
pervising “Hiking for Health” weekly outdoor activity
program.


Aleksandr Kornev

is a senior studying Computer Science and Bioinformatics at the
University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has degrees in Psychology and Health
Fitness. Aleksandr has sever
al years of experience in the practical pedagogical
application of healthy dieting, nutrition, and physical sport as a means to combat illness.


Aleksandr has worked with both adults and children with positive results. Aleksandr’s
expertise also includes p
sychological research. He was involved with performing an
extensive literature review, editing throughout the proposal, and developing clear project
background section. He will utilize the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS)
analyze the results
of the surveys. Aleksandr’s contribution to the project will be in the
areas of healthy lifestyle and nutrition education, as well as in the “Hiking for Health”
program.



















Budget and Budget Justification


Item

Amount

Amount
Paid

In
-
kind

Justification

Research
Assistant

$5,000.00

$5000.00


Needed to assist
during information
sessions.

Gift Cards

$6,600.00

$6,600.00


Given to Subjects for
Participation.

Survey
Development

$120.00

$120.00


Pens, paper, erasers,
CD’s used during
survey.

Resource
Development
Costs

$9,000.00

$9,000.00


Printed study
material for
dissemination
(flyers, booklets and
so on) as well as
compensating
speakers.

Activity
Sessions

$6,000.00

$6,000.00


Supplies for each
participant.

Dissemination
costs

$300.00

$300.00


Mailed survey
results and gift cards
to participants who
completed projects.

Conference
Attendance

$17,000.00

$17,000.00


Airline tickets, hotel
and food cost.

Rental Space



$4,000.00

Local Schools will
not charge us for the
use of Auditoriums
space.

Activity Fees

$4,000.00

$4,000


Park and Recreation fees

Total Cost

$48,020.00





Works Cited


Gortmaker, Steven L.; Swinburn, Boyd A.; Levy, David;
Carter, Rob; Mabry, Patricia
L.;

Diane T.; Huang, Terry; Marsh, Tim; Moodie, Marjory L.

"
Changing the
Future of Obesity: Science, Policy, and Action
"

Obstetrical & Gynecological
Survey:

January 2012; Volume 67; Issue 1;
p
.

6

8
. Print.


Elder J, Ayala G, Parra
-
Medina D, Talavera G.


Health communication

in the Latino
community: Issues and
approaches

. Annu
al

Rev
.,
P
ublic Health. 2009; 30:
227

251. Print.


Faith M, Scanlon K, Birch L, Francis L, Sherry B.

Parent

child

feeding strategies and
their relationships to child eating and weight

status

. Obes
ity

Res. 2004; 12:
1711

1722.

Print.