This issue offers interesting research-based findings for those who have limited budgets but work with needy populations including participants who are dealing with family parental issues, obesity issues or are low-income and/or low-literate. In today’s climate that includes most educators. The issue also offers critical information on evaluation that can be applied in much of educational programming and a comprehensive review of important nutrition and physical activity recommendations for preschool-aged children that will save the educator much time in searching the literature
Currently Cooperative Extension (CE) is being asked to do more than just provide information to individuals and families. CE now needs to capture impacts from educational programs and materials that are supposed to be designed to change attitude, skill, or behavior. This is difficult to do with an educated audience but even more difficult to accomplish with low-literate audiences. The authors of this feature article outline the theories and steps involved in improving the ability of evaluation tools to more accurately capture existing behavior change among low-literate participants in CE programs. This should be useful to all who work with low-literate audiences.
One applied research study looks at the understanding of low-income mothers of children aged 4-10 concerning selected child obesity prevention messages in six states. Findings from this study showed that we need to evaluate messages to ensure these messages are being correctly interpreted by the intended audiences, in this case, low-income mothers of young children.
With the growing obesity epidemic educators are looking for programs that help people deal with their weight issues in a healthful way. An alternative to the traditional diet has arisen in recent years, namely programs that collectively follow a concept known as ‘health at every size.’ Research shows that women who have realistic weight expectations for themselves tend to be happier and adopt healthier eating behaviors than those with unrealistic expectations. The authors of this applied research study share the benefits of a 10-week program that they delivered and offer a number of suggestions for future research in this area.
New parents often need some good sound parent education, however with the budget cuts that we are all facing, conducting face-to-face educational programming is becoming less and less feasible. This applied research study looked at whether a parent resource guide delivered to new mothers at the time of birth would impact their reported understanding and application of information read and their adjustment to parenthood.
The review paper covers important nutrition and physical activity recommendations for preschool-aged children and can be very helpful for county faculty to have as a reference when developing programs for these age groups or implementing programs in their communities.
I believe these articles show some innovative approaches and techniques and are rich with practical and new information for the educator’s use. As always, it is my hope that you will read the articles, use the information, and enjoy the experience.
Jacquelyn W. McClelland, Ph.D.
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