Abstracts Summer 2009

Summer 2009, Vol. 14, No. 2
ISSN 1540 5273

Mothers’ perceptions of portion size: are they fueling the child obesity epidemic?

Marilyn S. Townsend, Nancy Keim, and Edye Kuyper, UC Davis; Dorothy Smith, UC Cooperative Extension, Calaveras and Amador Counties; Cathi Lamp,UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County; Anna MartinUC Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County;
Diane Metz, UC Cooperative Extension, Solano and Yolo Counties; and Lucia L. Kaiser, UC Davis


What is driving the current obesity epidemic? A relatively new area of research is the study of portion sizes and energy density of foods served at home and in restaurants. The purpose of this report is to compare mothers’ perceptions of appropriate portion sizes for young children with the guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The picture card sort method was developed using photographs of various portion size options of 16 food and beverage items commonly consumed by young children. For 15 of the 16 foods, low-income mothers (n = 87) selected larger portion sizes than recommended by the AAP for the 4-5 year old child. Four foods scored an energy density ≤ 2.0 kcals/gm and a naturally nutrient rich score > 100.0: 2% milk, fresh carrots, cooked beans and orange juice. Our results highlight the need for further research exploring the potential obesogenic effect of increased portion sizes and varying energy densities on caloric intakes of children. Full Text

Parenting education programs: recruiting and retaining low-income parents and family caregivers

Susan Gamble, Stacey Harper, Kimary McNeil , Allison Nichols , Kerri Wade, and Shirley Wilkins, West Virginia University Extension Service


Family involvement in children’s learning has a positive impact on children’s literacy and overall academic skills. Notably, when families from low-income backgrounds are involved in their children’s early literacy development, the achievement gap is narrowed. Recruiting and retaining low-income parents and family caregivers for parenting and early literacy programs are challenges faced by many organizations. Based on the experience of Extension educators in West Virginia, this article presents the results of a qualitative study that examined (1) what attracts parents and family caregivers of young children to community-based parenting programs, (2) what motivates parents to continue in the program, and (3) what are the components of educational programs for low-income parents or caregivers that result in positive outcomes for families? Recommendations for designing and implementing programs for low-income parents are offered. Full Text

Providing collaborative financial and couples counseling: Experiences of the financial counselors and couple’s therapists

Leslie Green-Pimentel, Joseph Goetz, Jerry Gale, and Maria Bermudez, University of Georgia


This research paper examines financial counselors’ and couples therapists’ perspectives and experiences associated with an innovative program that combines financial and couples counseling to more effectively assist couples experiencing both financial and relationship strain. Upon program completion, financial counselors and couples therapists were interviewed regarding their experiences participating in this collaborative model. Overall the counselors and therapists reported a positive experience and reported many benefits not only for consumers but also for service providers. The results are applicable to Cooperative Extension professionals, both in terms of community education and service, as well as their work to build relationships with other professionals in their communities to improve the overall well-being of the families and individuals. Cooperative Extension professionals may benefit from increased awareness of the interaction of financial and relational stress and understanding how this knowledge can be integrated into educational programming and outreach. Full Text

Micronutrient Content of Traditional Complementary Foods

C.A. Agbon, C.R.B. Oguntona, and T.F. Mayaki, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta., P. M. B. 2240


A study was conducted in Abeokuta the capital city of Ogun State situated in the southwest area of Nigeria. A questionnaire, used for the study, sought background information about the children, their parents and child feeding practices. A total of 150 correctly filled validated questionnaires were received from the lactating women. Four most frequently used traditional complementary foods (paps from both white and yellow maize varieties, millet and sorghum) out of the eight traditional complementary foods used by respondents in the study area were chosen for standardization and analysis. The iron, zinc and calcium contents were determined. Data from questionnaire were analyzed using descriptive analysis. The variations in micronutrient contents of the different cereal pap were determined using ANOVA. Almost half of the lactating women (42 percent) added crayfish to the pap. Micronutrient values of complementary food used by the lactating women were as follows, white corn pap, 14.23mg iron, 2.80mg zinc and 360mg calcium; yellow corn pap, 13.95mg iron, 2.90mg zinc, and 270mg calcium; sorghum pap, 14.31mg iron, 2.60mg zinc, and 280mg calcium; millet, 14.43mg iron, 3.00mg zinc, and 390mg calcium. Zinc content of the different cereal paps studied appears to be adequate. Iron contents of the cereal paps were found inadequate even with the addition of crayfish. Also the different cereal paps did not meet calcium requirements from complementary foods at all levels of breast milk intake common in developing countries. Promotions on enrichment strategies designed to improve the nutrient intake of infants should recommend high level of breast milk intake even for older infants and the addition of chicken liver instead of crayfish when mothers choose to use traditional complementary foods. Full Text

Making Learning a Family Affair: Principles for Attracting Latinos to Extension Finance Classes

Lucy Delgadillo, Lisa Ralph, and Amanda Horrocks, Utah State University; Adrie Roberts, Utah State University Extension, Cache County, Utah; and Linda Skogrand,
Utah State University


The present paper reports on the development of an Extension family finance program for Latinos. The program was offered in a western community, which is regarded as a new immigrant destination because it differs from the traditional immigrant gateways like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The program consisted of a four-week series of financial education classes for Spanish-speaking members of the community. The goal of the paper is to document details of this program’s development and success in a step-by-step manner so Extension agents can replicate it in other non-traditional immigrant cities. The program’s development is successful because it was culturally sensible, it made learning a family affair, and it has strengthened partnerships between the Latino community and Extension. Full Text

In Defense of Boring Dietary Advice

Sarah L. Ash, Ph.D. Full Text



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