Volume 6, No. 2, Spring 2001

Exploring Attitudes Towards Body Weight and Eating Behaviors of Women in College

Sarah L. Ash and Jacquelyn W. McClelland

Abstract: A study was designed to assess attitudes towards body weight, dieting practices, and symptoms of eating disorders among college-age women. Of the 242 students surveyed, 86 percent desired some amount of weight loss, almost half wanting to lose 10 or more pounds. Achieving their goals would put the majority (63 percent) within just 5 pounds of their weight for height minimum (assuming a small frame), while 17 percent would end up 6 or more pounds less than their minimum weight for height. Few of those desiring any amount of weight loss would actually be considered overweight by health care professionals. The 8 percent satisfied with current weights were quite thin (BMI=19.1±0.41). Boyfriends were cited most frequently as a source of pressure to maintain a certain weight, but mothers were more likely to have encouraged dieting. Those feeling pressure to maintain a certain weight were more likely to report unhealthy dieting practices, and to be preoccupied with dieting and their body weight. Unrealistic expectations regarding desirable weight and sources of pressure to maintain a certain weight — both of which can lead to unhealthy eating practices — are issues that need to be addressed in Cooperative Extension programming efforts.

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Proactively Addressing Accountability in Extension

John G. Richardson

Abstract: Accountability requirements of government programs are ever increasing. As a part of government, Cooperative Extension is faced with identifying program impacts and proactively communicating them to appropriate audiences. Program value versus cost is a key component of accountability. Strategically planning for accountability to direct information on program value to targeted audiences helps to guide the process. Such planning should result in action steps to communicate program value and successes. A well-designed data collection system can provide the vehicle for collecting and accumulating program outcome and impact data that is readily accessible for marketing accountability information to appropriately targeted audiences. Relevancy of information marketed to the right people at the right time is most important for Extension accountability efforts.

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Evaluation that Goes Beyond the Data

Karen DeBord and Lynne Borden

Abstract: Program evaluation is a process that documents the successes and efforts of outreach programs describing educational or behavioral impacts. Increasingly, educators who work with youth and family programs are asked to document program outcomes. These results have become increasingly important to educators and funders. However, with limited accessible information pertaining to program evaluation, educators are often challenged and frustrated by the need to design and conduct good evaluation. This article describes two accessible interactive web sites that were designed to provide support to educators designing program evaluations. The first site is designed to assist educators in evaluating parenting education programs, in particular. The second assists educators in designing effective evaluations for any program. These two web-based sites offer educators a self-study opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge to support their program evaluation efforts.

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Issues of Assessment in Testing Children Under Age Eight

Gwen G. Stevens and Karen DeBord

Abstract: There are differing opinions about the value of using standardized tests to assess the abilities and knowledge of young children. Research with young children (under 8 years old) indicates that using standardized tests for student grade placement or school retention can prove to be harmful to children’s ultimate achievements. This article describes the multiple methods that can appropriately be used to evaluate student progress while shaping assessment policies that represent age-appropriate learning goals without using “high-stakes” accountability testing of individual children prior to third grade.

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Homebuyers’ Workshop Represents the Need for Housing Education.

Amy Chilcote

Abstract: In spite of a strong economy in North Carolina, a significant number of individuals are still struggling to secure and maintain safe, decent, and affordable housing. Because Lincoln County has become a bedroom community, the growth rate of residential housing has been 31.87 percent in the last five years. This is partially due to the influx of residents escaping more urban communities seeking a rural setting and lower taxes. To address this influx of families, a sub-committee of the Family and Consumer Advisory Board developed a five-week Homebuyers’ Workshop. Since its development, two five-week homebuyer workshops have been conducted with fifty-six individuals completing the workshops. Of those fifty-six, fifty-three are now homeowners.

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New State Legislation: Opportunities for Collaboration

Marsha A. Goetting

Abstract: Collaborations can provide opportunities for increased visibility and effectiveness of Extension programs. This article describes how the Extension Family Economics Program at Montana State University has networked with state agencies and other professional organizations to inform citizens about new state laws that have an impact on family finances.

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Cooperative Extension Is Ally in Consumer Protection

David Kirkman

Abstract: David Kirkman, assistant attorney general for North Carolina, and a “National Friend of Extension,” shares insights on how Extension has helped control consumer fraud.

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