identified as a key priority population by the NIMHD, the Appalachian counties of Kentucky suffer from some of the nation's highest rates of obesity and overweight, lowest rates of produce consumption, and high rates of premature mortality and diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and various cancers. With the main partnership of three community-based organizations - the Community Farm Alliance (a community development organization designed to improve food production systems). Faith Moves Mountains (a community-based research team with ten years of culturally-based intervention experience), and the Big Sandy Area Development District (a well-respected network that plans, promotes, and coordinates programs for regional economic, health, and social development of Appalachia) - and with extensive input from the Community Advisory Board (CAB), faith partners, and Cooperative Extension, this community-academic partnership proposes to address the most modifiable risk factor for these main causes of morbidity and mortality: suboptimal diet. In this three-year planning grant, the community-academic collaboration will undertake three specific aims and associated activities.
In Aim 1, the project team will conduct a community needs assessment and assets inventory, hold community forums to present this information, and meet regularly with the community partners and CAB. The nutrition and agricultural economic co-investigators will partner with the community research team to use innovative and established methods, including GIS mapping, focus groups, and nutritional and economic assessment techniques.
In Aim 2, community forums, CAB meetings, and collaborative engagement sessions among project partners will facilitate the selection and initiation of an evidence-based pilot intervention to promote better nutrition, emphasizing food access, particularly fruits and vegetables.
In Aim 3, the community-academic collaborative will implement and evaluate this pilot intervention, tracking nutritional outcomes, participant satisfaction, and costs and reporting results to Appalachian community members.

Public Health Relevance

By addressing one of the nation's leading public health challenges - poor diet leading to overweight/obesity and subsequent health impacts - in a region (Appalachian Kentucky) suffering extreme disparities in diet and diet-related disease, this project will develop implement, and evaluate a comprehensive approach to dietary change by increasing access to healthy foods.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1)
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Dankwa-Mullan, Irene
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University of Kentucky
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Schoenberg, Nancy E; Swanson, Mark (2017) Rural Religious Leaders' Perspectives on their Communities' Health Priorities and Health. South Med J 110:447-451