Improve Nutrition and End Childhood Obesity

Research to help people eat healthy


Development and Evaluation of Science-Based Messages to Improve Consumers’ Storage, Handling, and Preparation of Poultry and Poultry Products

Identifying Food Safety Risk Factors and Educational Strategies for Consumers Purchasing Seafood and Meat Products Online

Cocoa and its Bioactive Component Epicatechin Extend Lifespan in Aging Mice Fed a Standard Diet

Effects of Plant Flavonoids; Quercetin, Genistein and Kaempferol on Oxidative Damage in Obesity

Soybean Dietary Fiber: A Functional Ingredient for Prevention of Childhood Obesity

Nashville Children Eating Well for Health

 


Development and Evaluation of Science-Based Messages to Improve Consumers’ Storage, Handling, and Preparation of Poultry and Poultry Products
Dr. S. Godwin
Consumers can reduce their risk of foodborne illness from Salmonella and Campylobacter infection by safely purchasing, storing, handling, and preparing poultry and egg products.  This project develops and evaluates research-based, consumer friendly, web-enhanced educational materials, including mobile game applications, to educate consumers on practices to reduce their risk of foodborne illness from poultry products and eggs.  The overall goal of this project will be accomplished through four objectives: 1) Characterize consumers’ purchase, storage, handling, and preparation of poultry and egg products  and their awareness and understanding of existing food safety messages; 2) assess and prioritize the risk of contamination or cross-contamination from purchase or in-home storage, handling, and preparation of products; 3) Develop and test science-based and consumer-focused messages identified in Objectives 1 and 2 and educational programs on safe purchase, storage, handling, and preparation of products; and 4) Evaluate messages and educational programs to assess the impact on improving consumers’ purchase, storage, handling, and preparation of products.  Consumers’ increased adoption of recommended practices ultimately will lead to a reduction in foodborne illness from the handling and consumption of poultry and egg products. Dr. Sandria Godwin, Project Director. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Kansas State University and RTI International. Funded through a grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (Grant No. 2012-68003-19606) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Identifying Food Safety Risk Factors and Educational Strategies for Consumers Purchasing Seafood and Meat Products Online
Dr. S. Godwin
More than 550 US companies market fresh or frozen meat, fish, and/or seafood directly to consumers’ online, enabling consumers to have products delivered using common carriers such as FedEx and UPS.  Due to the perishable nature of these products and their vulnerability to temperature abuse in transit, there is an increased potential for foodborne illness among consumers. Yet, many online food companies do not provide food safety information related to the receiving, handling, storing, or cooking of their products. The overall goal of the project is to improve the food safety of perishable meat, fish, and seafood products purchased online. This goal will be accomplished through six integrated objectives:  1) Create an inventory of online purveyors of meat, fish, and seafood products in the United States, characterizing the products offered, ways they are shipped, and the presence and quality of the food safety advice provided to consumers; 2) Ascertain consumer expectations, knowledge, and behaviors related to ordering, receiving, handling, storing, cooking, and consuming meat, fish, and seafood products available for purchase online; 3) Survey the microbial safety of a representative cross-section of available meat, fish, and seafood products offered by online purveyors; 4) Document length of and selected temporal and thermal parameters within and among shipping routes; 5) Evaluate shipping containers for their adequacy for keeping products within safe temperature zones; and 6) Using information results from Objectives 1-5, create and publish online and print materials useful for outreach to consumers and online purveyors of meat, fish, and seafood products.  By providing both consumers and online purveyors with educational materials, there will be decreased risk of foodborne illness associated with these shipped products. Dr. Sandria Godwin, Project Director. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Rutgers University. Supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2011-38821-31107.

Cocoa and its Bioactive Component Epicatechin Extend Lifespan in Aging Mice Fed a Standard Diet
Dr. Hongwei Si
The number of the Americans aged 65 or older is quickly growing, which will place unprecedented burdens on health care costs. Therefore, developing strategies to promote health and functional independence are very important in helping older Americans stay healthy, live longer, and incur fewer health-related costs. Among these, a search for novel, cost-effective, and health improving agents for prevention of multiple organs' dysfunction and prolonging healthy lifespan are of major importance in efforts to promote the health of elderly American. Our recent study observed that dietary intake of epicatechin, a major bioactive compounds of cocoa, significantly increased survival rate to 69.7% from 39.4% in control group in aged C57B6 mice fed a standard diet. This epicatechin supplement also
improved aging-related inflammation and multiple organs function. These findings suggest that epicatechin may be a novel anti-aging compound, particularly a breakthrough of anti-aging natural compounds research because most potential natural agents including resveratrol, green tea extract and curcumin have failed in extending lifespan in mice from the National Institute on Aging Interventions Testing Program (1). However, our current studies used only one dosage (0.25% drinking) of epicatechin and further pathological, biochemical and molecular analysis from collected animal tissues were not done because of lack of funding support. A comprehensive aging study with different dosages of epicatechin and whole cocoa extracts to select the optimum dosage and define the physiological and transcriptional mechanisms is extremely needed to confirm whether and how dietary epicatechin and cocoa extracts extend lifespan in aged mice fed a standard diet. This project will explore whether and how epicatechin and cocoa extracts act in vivo as an anti-aging agent. The results from these studies are expected to establish the fundamental mechanism by which epicatechin and cocoa extracts extend healthy lifespan, which could potentially lead to the development of strategies using this cost-effective, naturally available compound to promote health and extend lifespan in humans. In addition, completion of this project will strengthen the capacities in molecular nutrition and chronic diseases research as well as minority graduate students training at Tennessee State University.

Effects of Plant Flavonoids; Quercetin, Genistein and Kaempferol on Oxidative Damage in Obesity
Dr. William Boadi
Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds present in vegetables, fruits, berries and in many different foods having similar effects as antioxidants. There are several types, which can be broken down into four main subgroups: flavones, flavonols, flavanones, and isoflavonoids. They can be consumed as natural food solids, modified powder additives, or liquid formulations. A flavonoids fortified beverages derived from plant sources has the potential to become a more easily consumable source of nutrition for children, and help serve as prevention-based method to counter the threat of childhood obesity especially in low-income communities. The long-term goal of this project is to engage in scientific research and to gather data on the use of certain plant flavonoids such as quercetin, genistein and kaempferol to promote healthy eating and nutrition. Also information on the beneficial effects of these flavonoids could be used to support healthy eating in school lunches and other applications for the general support of healthy eating, and thus support the overall goal of achieving a reduction in obesity related diseases within our target population.

Soybean Dietary Fiber: A Functional Ingredient for Prevention of Childhood Obesity
Dr. Ying Wu
Eating patterns and nutritional status are closely related to health. In the recent decades, the growing prevalence of overweight and obesity at early stage of childhood is a serious concern (Hill and Trowbridge, 1998). Obesity is the third most dominant risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease in high-income countries (Lopez, Mathers, Ezzati, Jamison, & Murray, 2006). According to the data published by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (Ogden et al., 2012), in the year 2009-2010, the obesity rate was 16.9 percent among children and adolescents in the United States. Due to the steep increase of overweight and obesity rate and its related health risks, childhood obesity has become one of the most pressing public health concerns in the country (Koplan et al., 2005). Diet is one of the important factors considered as causes of childhood obesity (Ebbeling et al., 2002). Important epidemiological evidence support the concept that diets rich in fiber are associated with lower body weight or weight gain (Lairon, 2007). High fiber diets are important in the prevention and management of obesity and chronic diseases, including type2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer (Kendall et al., 2010). Dietary guidance universally recommends diets higher in fiber for improved health benefits (Slavin, 2005). Current recommendations from the United States National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, suggest that adults should consume 20-35 grams of dietary fiber per day, but the average American's daily intake of dietary fiber is only 12-18 grams. Similarly, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) also recommends a minimum of 20-35 g/day for a healthy adult. The recommended amount for children is the age plus 5 g/day (e.g., a 4 year old should consume 9 g/day). There are emerging needs for food products with higher dietary content which are readily available to consumers especially at younger ages. However, incorporation of fiber ingredients to food products is challenging due to the adverse effect on texture and sensory quality of the products. In this project, fractions of dietary fiber obtained from soybeans will be added into bread at various concentrations. In vitro and in vivo studies will be carried out to evaluate physiological effects of different fractions vs. concentration. Starch digestion rate and glucose releasing rate will be compared among treatments. Sensory evaluation on breads will be conducted for consumer acceptance. This project will provide healthier bread choices with higher dietary fiber content for consumers to prevent obesity at younger ages.


Nashville Children Eating Well for Health
V. J. Oates, B. A. Husaini, P. C. Hull, R. S Levine, J. S. Emerson, A. H.Muktar, R. J. Zoorob, C. J. Kihlberg
Nashville CHildren Eating Well (CHEW) for Health is a joint effort among Tennessee State University, Meharry Medical College and community partners to address childhood obesity prevention through research, education and extension. Community partners include the Tennessee Department of Health, Metropolitan Public Health Department of Nashville/Davidson County, Progreso Community Center, McGruder Family Resource Center, Community Food Advocates, and a Community Advisory Committee, which includes community residents. Nashville CHEW for Health focuses on the USDA's federal WIC (Women, Infants and Children) supplemental nutrition program. The target population is low-income WIC participant families with children ages 2-5, with a focus on African American and Hispanic families, and the WIC-authorized grocers that serve this population. Nashville CHEW for Health has five main objectives: (1) Develop and test special nutrition education materials for African American and Hispanic WIC participants with children ages 2-5, with input and guidance from community partners, that can eventually be used in WIC programs in Tennessee; (2) Provide technical assistance to WIC-authorized vendors to expand in their stores the availability and marketing of healthy food items; (3) Conduct consumer education outreach to WIC participants, through in-store demonstrations and peer educators, to encourage their families to buy and eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products; (4) Add new teaching modules and hands-on activities for Meharry medical students, residents and practicing physicians to learn about child obesity prevention; (5) Add new teaching modules and hands-on activities for TSU students and post-doctoral fellows to learn about obesity prevention, nutrition-related chronic diseases and approaches to their prevention and management.

 






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