Date of Award

5-2014

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Food Science and Human Nutrition

Advisor

Adrienne A. White

Second Committee Member

Susan Sullivan

Third Committee Member

Kathryn Yerxa

Abstract

Childhood obesity prevention remains a high priority health issue in the United States. An important way to address prevention is through nutrition education interventions. The goal of the study was to identify physical measurements, sexual maturation, and dietary intake of 9-10 year old children participating in the iCook 4-H pilot intervention project. The objectives of this study were to identify pre-post changes in height, weight, waist circumference, Tanner stage for sexual maturation, and dietary intake of children and to investigate relationships between these variables. The study was part of a multistate project and children and their primary adult meal preparers (n=53 dyads) were recruited from the five states of Maine, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia. Child assessments included anthropometric measures (height, weight, and waist circumference (WC) measured using standardized techniques), sexual maturation (measured by self-reported Tanner stage), and dietary intake (measured using parent-assisted Block Food Screener for Ages 2-17). Children and adults provided demographic information. Descriptive statistics, t-test comparisons, and Pearson and Spearman Rho correlations were performed. The intervention was a 12 week, 6 session curriculum focused on improving culinary skills, physical activity, and family mealtime/play time interactions. The children (mean age 9.9+0.9 years) were predominantly female (66%) and ethnically diverse (White 40%, Hispanic 15%, Black 11%, Native American 11%, Other 6%, Asian 2%). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weight status categories, 64.3% of males and 51.9% of females were at a healthy weight, while 35.7% of males and 22.2% of females were obese (>95th BMI for age percentile). The majority of males and females were in Tanner stage 1 or 2 of sexual maturation and most (n=7, 64% of males; n=8, 62% of females) had begun sexual maturation. No significant correlations were seen between anthropometries and Tanner stage in males, but in females there were significant correlations between breast development and weight and height (P<0.05) as well as between weight and BMI (P<0.01). For dietary intake, a significant positive correlation (P<0.01) between saturated fat and added sugar intake was seen in males and females. Males and females did not meet the recommended dietary intake of any of the MyPlate food groups. Based on pre-post assessments, there were no differences in fruit or vegetable intake, however significant decreases were seen for males (P<0.01) in saturated fat, added sugar/syrup, and total calories and for females (P<0.05) in added sugar/syrup. The implication is that they were eating a more nutrient-dense diet. Based on findings from this pilot test, interventions focused on obesity prevention are needed in children.

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