story to find out more.
Members of the Marvell Walking Club take a stroll
on their community's recently refurbished walking trail. Click the image for
more information about it.
Pilot Program Fosters Fitness in Three Delta Communities
By Jim Core
March 7, 2006
To improve the nutrition and health of
residents in three rural communities in the South, the Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) is partnering in a pilot
program with six universities, state cooperative extension services and other
Obesity, heart disease, stroke and cancer disproportionately affect people
living in Mississippi Delta states. Researchers working on the Lower
Mississippi Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative (NIRI)
in Little Rock, Ark., are studying the population's dietary habits, which are
generally less healthy than the national average.
As locations for the intervention pilot program, NIRI partners selected
Marvell, Ark., and its surrounding public school district; Franklin Parish in
Louisiana; and the city of Hollandale, Miss. The community-based participatory
research model is being used as the framework for carrying out the Delta NIRI
mission, according to
McCabe-Sellers, a nutrition scientist and NIRI's research coordinator.
The "rolling store" operated by Reverend
Emanuel Smith (center) has been a big success in Franklin Parish, Louisiana.
Shown with him are Marria Fields, peer educator, and Kathy Smith. Click the
image for more information about it.
In Marvell, NIRI initiated a walking club so residents can offer each other
support. Health professionals are invited to give participants health,
nutrition and physical fitness advice. The city also received a grant to create
a farmers' market. Last summer, three community gardens were started there to
provide residents nutritious fruit and vegetables.
In Franklin Parish, local NIRI coordinators are expanding a weekly truck
delivery, or "rolling store," of fresh produce and are distributing
healthy recipes to participants. They hope to join forces with a local grocery
store to stock fresh produce for residents holding special vouchers.
In Hollandale, an advanced walking club was formed, with community leaders
certified as instructors. Local coordinators worked with NIRI to install a
walking trail, basketball court and soccer field in a city park.
L. Bogle, a nutritionist and Delta NIRI's executive director, scientists
and communities are analyzing the intervention research and determining how to
expand these programs into other Delta communities.
more about the research in the March issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.