FY2011 Annual Report Project Descriptions

NUTRITION, FOOD SAFETY, AND HEALTH


2

Pennsylvania State University
Enhancing Food Security in Underserved Populations in the Northeast Through Sustainable Regional Food Systems .

Principal Investigator: L. Berlin

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Over seven million citizens living in the Northeastern part of the U.S. are food insecure. Low-income communities are disproportionately affected by lack of access to healthy, affordable foods. This USDA-funded project is studying whether greater reliance on regionally produced foods can improve food access and affordability for disadvantaged communities, while also benefiting farmers and others in the food supply chain. Island Pond, Vermont is one of nine intervention sites in the northeast. Since the project began in March 2011(the beginning of the five year project), the focus has been on getting the target communities engaged, including obtaining commitments from independent grocers to be project participants. The groundwork is being laid to conduct consumer focus groups as well as consumer surveys in Island Pond and the other northeast sites to better understand residents' interests in healthy, regionally produced food. Work is also underway to conduct a supply chain analysis relevant to each of the nine sites, and to identify the northeast's capacity for production of certain target foods. Ultimately, the goal is to increase the availability of target foods in the 18 marketplaces across the nine sites. Research on consumers, supply chains and food production will continue in the coming year.

Outcomes & Impacts:
This research project just began so we lack findings. However, the major goal is to enhance household and community food security in historically underserved northeast communities. Simultaneously we aim to strengthen the supply of foods that are both produced and sold in the northeast. Primary beneficiaries of these efforts will include underserved consumers and their communities, independent grocers, and northeast food producers.


2

Hatch
Burn and earn: Incentivizing physical activity in college freshman .

Principal Investigator: J. Harvey-Berino

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The purpose of this project is to determine the value of using financial incentives to shape exercise behavior in college students. Currently students are participating in the intervention therefore, there are no outcomes to report.

Outcomes & Impacts:
One hundred and nineteen students were recruited and randomized to one of two incentive groups or a control condition. Baseline measures were completed but follow-up measures will not be taken until December of 2011.


2

Hatch/Multistate
Beneficial and Adverse Effects of Natural, Bioactive Dietary Chemicals on Human Health and Food Safety (from W1122) .

Principal Investigator: M. Guo

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are the most common type of microbes used as probiotics. They have been used in the food industry for many years. However, these beneficial organisms often encounter many harsh conditions such as acid, alkali, heat and salt stresses during food processing. This project was to develop a new practical technology using polymerized whey protein based microcapsulation to improve survivability of probiotic lactobacilli in food systems. The microencapsulated cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM by polymerized whey proteins (PWP) and/or sodium alginate (SA), and free culture were subject to artificial digestions to determine the survival rate. The entrapment yield for the PWP method was significantly higher than the control samples. Viable counts of the culture after digestion processes were higher compared with other two groups. This microencapsulation is an effective way in protection of L. acidophilus in yogurt.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The results showed that this whey protein based microencapsulation technology is an effective and economical method compared with polysacchride based method to improve the quality of fermented dairy foods. Because of whey is a by product of cheese making, this new technology may be further to benefit the well being of consumers, the dairy industry, and protect the environment of the state of Vermont and beyond.

Publications:
Zheng Z, Jiang Y, Chen X, Wang J, Cheng J, Zhang H and Guo M. 2011. Microencapsulation of probiotic cultures using polymerized whey proteins as wall material. J. Dairy Science. 94 (E-Suppl. 1):34.


2a

Department of Agriculture USDA
Surveillance and Characterization of Bacterial Pathogens in Raw Milk Destined for Cheesemaking vs. Direct Human Consumption .

Principal Investigator: C. Donnelly

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The purpose of this project was to explore the impact of processing parameters on inactivation of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella {including Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium var Copenhagen DT104; Salmonella enterica serotype Newport} and Listeria monocytogenes in Gouda and washed rind cheeses.We examined the fate of target pathogens during the manufacture, ripening and aging/holding of Gouda cheese made from raw milk aged for 60 days. Our research demonstrated that E. coli 0157:H7 can survive in Gouda cheese through 60 days and beyond and that aging alone cannot be used to assure cheese safety. With 38 artisan cheese producers, Vermont boasts the highest number of artisan cheese makers per capita. Since 2006, VIAC has provided education and technical service to over 1825 cheese makers from 48 states and 9 countries. In order to allow the U.S. artisan cheese industry to grow and prosper, it is essential that safety of farmstead and artisan cheeses be assured. In order to do this, VIAC has been working with artisan cheese producers to provide education through formal classes, providing assessment of microbiological risks in raw milk destined for cheese making, as well as performing evaluation of microbial pathogens which can cause environmental contamination during aging and storage of cheeses. The data we have gained through our research will be shared with stakeholders and policy makers to help inform risk assessments and risk analysis to ensure continued safe cheese manufacture.

Outcomes & Impacts:
We compared the fate of E. coli O157:H7 during the manufacture and aging of Gouda and stirred-curd Cheddar cheeses made from raw milk. Overall, counts in both cheese types increased almost 10-fold from initial milk inoculation levels to an approximate concentration of 145 CFU/g observed in cheeses on day 1. From this point, counts dropped significantly over 60 days to mean concentrations of 25 and 5 CFU/g of Cheddar and Gouda, respectively. Levels of E. coli O157:H7 fell and stayed below the cultural detection limit of ≥5 CFU/g after an average of 94 and 108 days in Gouda and Cheddar, respectively, yet remained detectable following selective enrichment for more than 270 days in both cheese types. Changes in pathogen levels observed throughout manufacture and aging did not significantly differ by cheese type. In agreement with previous studies our results suggest that the 60-day aging requirement alone is insufficient to completely eliminate viable levels of E. coli O157:H7 in Gouda or stirred-curd Cheddar cheese when manufactured from raw milk contaminated with low initial levels of this pathogen. This information will help inform cheese makers of potential risks and help identify strategies to ensure cheese safety.

Publications:
D'Amico, D.J. and C.W. Donnelly. 2011. Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from raw milk utilized in small-scale artisan cheese production. J. Food Prot.1353-1358.

D'Amico, D.J. and C.W. Donnelly. 2011. FDA Domestic and Imported Cheese Compliance Program Results: January 1, 2004-December 31, 2006. Food Prot. Trends 31:216-226.

D'Amico, D.J., M.J. Druart and C.W. Donnelly. 2010. Behavior of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during the manufacture and aging of Gouda and stirred-curd Cheddar cheeses manufactured from raw milk. J. Food Prot.12:2217-2224.


2a

Hatch
Listeria monocytogenes: Enrichment, sampling and novel surveillance.

Principal Investigator: C. Donnelly

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Recalls of food products contaminated by the pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes are on the increase, due in part to increased scrutiny of food processing plants by federal regulatory agencies. Each year in the United States, L. monocytogenes causes approximately 1500 cases of illness, which result in 260 deaths. Rapid, non-invasive techniques for testing food samples to detect pathogenic Listeria monocytogenes are needed. Fourier transform infrared [FTIR] spectroscopy is a cutting-edge technique that can be used to generate biochemical fingerprints for differentiation and identification of different bacterial strains. The objective of this work was to determine if differences between isolates of L. monocytogenes epidemic clones (EC III and IV) [strain numbers: J1-101, J1-129, J1-220 and R2-499] could be discerned using FTIR spectromicroscopy and multivariate analysis.The Mahalanobis maximum within group distances for strains J1-101, J1-129, J1-220 and R2-499 were 1.20 x 106, 1.79 x 107, 1.45 x 107 and 1.15 x 107, respectively. The minimum across group distances obtained by comparing the different epidemic clones generated different numbers and there was 100% success in the differentiation analysis. This finding indicates FTIR is a rapid technique that can point out slight biochemical differences in variants of a particular strain. This technology will be of great importance in surveillance of rapidly mutating and emerging pathogens.

Outcomes & Impacts:
FTIR is a low cost, high throughput technology which will allow more food testing to be performed rapidly, which will ultimately save lives. Future efforts will be focused on the application of FTIR in food manufacturing facilities to allow food manufacturers to improve the quantity and quality of data received to better detect, manage and prevent Listeria spp. in their plant environment.

Publications:
Nyarko, Esmond, Catherine W. Donnelly and Kenneth Puzy. 2011. Differentiation of epidemic clones III and IV of Listeria monocytogenes using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and multivariate analysis. Abstracts of the IAFP Annual Meeting.


2b

Dairy Australia
The Impact of Trans Fatty Acid Isomer Profile of Fat Sources on Hypocholesteremia and Risk of Artherosclerosis .

Principal Investigator: A. Wright

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Trans fatty acids (TFA) have been associated with the progression of a number of chronic human diseases, especially, atherosclerosis. There are two main dietary sources; industrial sources derived from the partial hydrogenation of polyunsaturated oils and natural sources that originate from ruminant-derived food products, primarily milk fat. Epidemiological data indicates that while adverse health effects are clearly related to intake of TFA from industrial sources, this is not the case for TFA from ruminant sources. The need for improved scientific knowledge of specific effects for these different sources of bioactive fatty acids is of obvious importance. This project examined the impact of industrial sources of TFA differing in isomer profile to elucidate what fatty acid(s) are responsible for the hypercholesteremic effects of industrial sources. These data may help to elucidate and show how milk fat is unique compared with these sources through differences in TFA isomer profile. Data from these studies was published in the Journal of Nutrition in October 2011.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Our hypothesis was based on the fact that ruminant sources of TFA supply a different profile of TFA isomers compared to industrial sources. Results from this project have provided important, currently absent insight into the effect of TFA isomer profile of trans fat sources on lipoprotein metabolism and mechanisms by which they impact the development of atherosclerosis. This information will provide additional information to aid in the differentiation of ruminant sources of TFA from industrial sources. This differentiation is vital given that dairy products, in the future, will likely represent one of the main sources of TFA in the human diet. We found that different sources of industrial TFA made from different starting plant oils resulted in divergent effects on lipoprotein metabolism risk factors of atherosclerosis, despite these oils being manufactured under the same conditions and having similar total TFA contents. Long term consequences of the divergent effects of industrial sources of TFA on lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis require further exploration. This work and follow up studies will help to ensure that the public perception and sale of dairy products is not harmed by the increased demand to remove TFA from the human diet.

Publications:
Kraft, J., Spiltoir, J. I., Salter, A. M., and Lock, A. L. (2011). Differential Effects of the trans-18:1 Isomer Profile of Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils on Cholesterol and Lipoprotein Metabolism in Male F1B Hamsters. Journal of Nutrition 141, 1819 - 1826.

Kraft, J., and A. L. Lock. (2011). Effects of different trans-fatty acids on lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in male F1B hamsters. FASEB J. 25: 586.6


2b

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
The Impact of Milk Fat-Derived Bioactive Fatty Acids on the Fetal Programming of Atherosclerosis .

Principal Investigator: A. Wright

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Atherosclerosis (coronary heart disease) is the leading cause of death in Western industrialized countries. Research has revealed that trans fatty acids (TFA) are a particular significant dietary risk factor for atherosclerosis with recent evidence indicating that the impact of TFA on the risk of atherosclerosis may differ according to source. In addition, it has long been proposed that the development of atherosclerosis in adult life may be impacted by nutritional disturbances during fetal and postnatal life. This study is examining, for the first time, the impact of TFA on the fetal programming of atherosclerosis development in later life. Using an appropriate rodent model and a combination of techniques the effect of pre and postnatal exposure to natural (milk fat) and industrial (partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil) sources of TFA in the etiology of atherosclerosis will be determined. Animal work to meet study objectives is nearing completion. Results will continue to be presented at local, national and international scientific and stakeholder meetings.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Findings from this project will continue to be will be disseminated to the academic community and relevant stakeholders. Given that a high proportion of the current US population would have been exposed to natural and industrial sources of TFA during their own early development (in utero and/or during breast feeding), the findings from our this research may have major implications for global public health and provide for future translational research opportunities. Importantly, our original research findings will have immediate application by providing valuable knowledge for use by government, nutritionists and health professionals in the development of policies and recommendations regarding the health effects of TFA.

Publications:
Gates, B., J. Kraft, S. C. Langley-Evans, A. L. Lock, and A. M. Salter. (2011). Impact of trans-fatty acid sources on the fetal programming of atherosclerosis. FASEB J. 25: 990.2


2b

Dairy Research Institute
Acceptance of Reformulated Flavored Milk in Schools .

Principal Investigator: R. Johnson

Accomplishments & Outputs:
In response to the childhood obesity epidemic, milk processors are lowering the calories (fat and/or added sugars) in flavored milks. It is important to know if school children accept these flavored milk modifications. Twenty-one school districts and 151 schools from across the U.S. were enrolled to evaluate elementary student acceptance of lower calorie, reformulated flavored milks. Student acceptance was measured using the following outcome variables: milk shipment records, cafeteria milk usage records, school lunch participation rates, and student consumption/plate waste. Results from the plate waste research were presented at Experimental Biology 2011, where the abstract was selected as one of 12 finalists for a student research competition sponsored by the American Society of Nutrition. Results were also presented at the Society for Nutrition Education and the American Dietetic Association's Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition. Our work provides important baseline information on school children's consumption of lower-calorie flavored milk using actual consumption measures. It also further supports that elements of the cafeteria/school environment (milk temperature, lunch timing) are correlated with milk consumption.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Our research evaluated the impact of the reformulation of flavored milk (lower calories by reducing added sugars and/or fat)on children's milk consumption. Nearly 74% of the milk shipped to schools in our sample was flavored milk which is consistent with national data. Similar to the findings in New York City, our research suggests that it may take time for children to fully adjust to changes in milk offerings in schools. We found that changes to flavored milk formulations resulted in a small, but significant drop in National School Lunch participation and possible decreases in consumption,

Publications:
Johnson RK, Yon BA. Weighing in on added sugars. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Sept:110(9):1296-9.

Yon BA, Johnson RK, Stickle TR. School children's consumption of lower calorie flavored milk; a plate waste study. FASEB Journal, March 17, 2011, Vol 25:781.1

Yon BA, Johnson RK. Changing to lower calorie flavored milk in schools leads to unintended cost implications. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2011 July/August;43(4S1):S21.

Yon BA, Johnson RK. Changing to lower calorie flavored milk does not impact National School Lunch Program participation rates. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011;111(9)S2:A64.


2b

Vermont Dairy Promotion Council
Evaluating the Acceptance of Reformulated Flavored Milk in Schools .

Principal Investigator: R. Johnson

Accomplishments & Outputs:
In response to the childhood obesity epidemic, milk processors are lowering the calories (fat and/or added sugars) in flavored milks. It is important to know if school children accept these flavored milk modifications. As part of a larger study, four schools in the Northeast (NE) and South (S) using lower calorie flavored milk (LCFM) (<150 calories/8 oz), were selected for a plate waste study, in spring 2010. Five control schools from similar districts (4 NE and 1 S) using standard flavored milk (SFM) (>150 calories/8 oz) were enrolled. Using linear mixed models, although children drinking standard flavored milk were more likely to consume >7oz, the difference was not significant (p=0.09). When adjusted for baseline group differences in SES, region and sex, no differences in consumption were detected (p=0.29). A number of cafeteria environmental factors were found to be correlated with milk consumption including milk temperature (rs=-0.11, p=0.001); consumption decreased as the temperature of the flavored milk increased. Later lunch times (12:45pm versus 11:00am) were positively correlated with consumption (rs=0.12, p<0.0001). Milk consumption was higher in schools that did not use offer versus serve where children were required to take milk as part of lunch (rs=0.18, p<0.0001) (42). Results from the plate waste research were presented at Experimental Biology 2011, where the abstract was selected as one of 12 finalists for a student research competition sponsored by the American Society of Nutrition.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Our research evaluated the impact of the reformulation of flavored milk (lower calories by reducing added sugars and/or fat)on children's milk consumption. This study provides important baseline information on school children's consumption of lower-calorie flavored milk using actual consumption measures as opposed to self-reports in a diverse student population across several states. It also further supports that elements of the cafeteria/school environment (milk temperature, lunch timing) are correlated with milk consumption.

Publications:
Yon BA, Johnson RK, Stickle TR. School children's consumption of lower calorie flavored milk; a plate waste study. FASEB Journal, March 17, 2011, Vol 25:781.1


2b

New England Dairy Promotion Board
Evaluating the Acceptance of Reformulated Flavored Milk in Schools .

Principal Investigator: R. Johnson

Accomplishments & Outputs:
In response to the childhood obesity epidemic, milk processors are lowering the calories (fat and/or added sugars) in flavored milks. It is important to know if school children accept these flavored milk modifications. As part of a larger study, four schools in the Northeast (NE) and South (S) using lower calorie flavored milk (LCFM) (<150 calories/8 oz), were selected for a plate waste study, in spring 2010. Five control schools from similar districts (4 NE and 1 S) using standard flavored milk (SFM) (>150 calories/8 oz) were enrolled. Using linear mixed models, although children drinking standard flavored milk were more likely to consume >7oz, the difference was not significant (p=0.09). When adjusted for baseline group differences in SES, region and sex, no differences in consumption were detected (p=0.29). A number of cafeteria environmental factors were found to be correlated with milk consumption including milk temperature (rs=-0.11, p=0.001); consumption decreased as the temperature of the flavored milk increased. Later lunch times (12:45pm versus 11:00am) were positively correlated with consumption (rs=0.12, p<0.0001). Milk consumption was higher in schools that did not use offer versus serve where children were required to take milk as part of lunch (rs=0.18, p<0.0001) (42). Results from the plate waste research were presented at Experimental Biology 2011, where the abstract was selected as one of 12 finalists for a student research competition sponsored by the American Society of Nutrition.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Our research evaluated the impact of the reformulation of flavored milk (lower calories by reducing added sugars and/or fat)on children's milk consumption. This study provides important baseline information on school children's consumption of lower-calorie flavored milk using actual consumption measures as opposed to self-reports in a diverse student population across several states. It also further supports that elements of the cafeteria/school environment (milk temperature, lunch timing) are correlated with milk consumption.

Publications:
Yon BA, Johnson RK, Stickle TR. School children's consumption of lower calorie flavored milk; a plate waste study. FASEB Journal, March 17, 2011, Vol 25:781.1


2b

Hatch
Evaluating the acceptance of reformulated flavored milk in schools .

Principal Investigator: R. Johnson

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The current Hatch project was used to leverage approximately $230,000 in funding from the Dairy Research Institute and the Vermont/New England Dairy Promotion Boards. With these funds, 5 dairy processors, 21 school districts and 151 schools from across the U.S. were enrolled to evaluate elementary student acceptance of lower calorie, reformulated flavored milks. Student acceptance is being measured using the following outcome variables: milk shipment records, cafeteria milk usage records, school lunch participation rates, and actual student consumption, as well as competitive ala carte beverages sales. Data collection is complete. Results from the plate waste study (student consumption) were presented at EB2011. The abstract was selected as one of 12 finalists for a student research competition sponsored by the American Society of Nutrition. The full manuscript is in press with the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The school lunch participation rate outcome data was presented at the upcoming Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition/ADA in September 2011. A focus group was conducted with nine school nutrition directors (SNDs) in July of 2010 and follow-up interviews were conducted with an additional four SNDs for the qualitative arm of the study. Those preliminary results were presented at the Society for Nutrition Education conference in the summer of 2011. A full manuscript is under development for submission to the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Milk shipment and usage were highly correlated and preliminary analysis shows that there were no changes in flavored milk shipment nor usage as schools began using lower calorie flavored milk. Additional analyses exploring acceptance based on the calorie reduction and whether fat or sugars were removed is ongoing.

Outcomes & Impacts:
This project is evaluating how children accept flavored milk reformulated to meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG) standard of no more than 150 calories per serving. The plate waste portion of the study found no significant differences in consumption, however the flavored milks meeting the AHG standards, did not meet the current USDA proposed rule. Additionally, while there was a decline in NSLP participation rates when lower calorie milks were introduced, there was significant recovery over time. The IOM has recommended research be done to explore the impact of the new school nutrition standards on the nutritional status of children. These findings have led to an additional project to follow a number of school districts in the northeast and southern regions of the country, representing a racially diverse group of students, as well as the two pilot schools in Vermont, as they come into compliance with the USDA proposed rule and IOM competitive beverage recommendations. Follow-up plate waste studies will be conducted in each district as they come into compliance and then a year later. Acceptance will be further measured at the school shipment, usage, and meal participation level, resulting in three years of actual flavored milk consumption measures and four years of school shipment and usage to track milk acceptance over time. Additionally, the school nutrition directors will be engaged in qualitative work to assess how they respond to and manage the process of coming into compliance with the proposed rule. As flavored milk formulations change to meet the pending new school standards, it is important to know whether or not school children will drink these new milks so that the health community can be assured that key shortfall nutrients contributed by milk are not lost in children's diets. These new data will provide much needed evidence to evaluate the impact of new school meals standards on children's milk consumption and overall health.

Publications:
Johnson RK, Yon BA. Weighing in on added sugars. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Sept:110(9):1296-9.

Yon BA, Johnson RK, Stickle TR. School children's consumption of lower calorie flavored milk; a plate waste study. FASEB Journal. March 17, 2011, Vol 25:781.1

Yon BA, Johnson RK. Changing to lower calorie flavored milk in schools leads to unintended cost implications. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2011 July/August;43(4S1):S21.


2d

Vermont AHS Department of Health
Vermont Department of Health Evaluation Framework for Community Based Obesity Prevention Programs .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The obesity prevention initiative for the Vermont Department of Health provides grants and technical assistance to community coalitions to facilitate the development and implementation of strategies that support healthy eating and physically active lifestyles in towns, early childcare settings, schools, workplaces and healthcare. Each coalition must follow the process outlined in the Vermont Prevention Framework and the strategies implemented must focus on changes or supports to the physical environment and/or policies as outlined in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation tool. This project is to develop an evaluation framework for the State to use to assess the community-based obesity prevention programs, particularly the implementation of environmental and policy strategies. During the first year of this project, an overview of existing health coalition evaluation tools was developed and Vermont community coalitions were interviewed to determine needs for evaluation tools. The general evaluation framework and direction were established. In addition, evaluation of coalition development and coalition planning have been a focus and a framework for measuring both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of capacity building has been developed. Outputs for this project are primarily in the form of reports and there has been a report for Phase A (summary report) and for Phases B & C (coalition development and planning). Work is underway on the report for Phases D & E (implementation and sustainability). In addition, these results have been disseminated in presentation form. At the completion of Phase E, a summary of the evaluation framework will be disseminated to the coalitions. The final phase will include testing the framework among the coalitions.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The project is not completed yet so findings and conclusions are still preliminary. It is anticipated that the findings and conclusions of this project will enable the Vermont Department of Health to evaluate its community based obesity prevention programs. It will also help community coalitions improve the work that they are doing in their communities, and ultimately should result in better outcomes from their efforts. This will result in healthier Vermont communities, particularly in the areas of nutrition and physical activity. Because the coalitions are active throughout the state, the whole state of Vermont will benefit from more effective coalitions and more effective implementation of environmental and policy strategies.


2d

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
MAPLES: More Active Play in Early Childhood Settings .

Principal Investigator: J. Harvey-Berino

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The purpose of this project was to determine if training childcare providers to use a preschool physical activity curriculum would increase active play for 3-5 year olds enrolled in daycare centers. Four childcare centers participated in the intervention and measurement of activity in the children confirmed that use of the preschool activity curriculum increased active play by 11.5% and decreased sedentary activity by approximately 7%. The results have been shared with childcare workers throughout the state and with the Vermont Department of Education, Department of Health and the Division of Children and Families. Based on these results, we are continuing to monitor and evaluate the activity of children in more diverse, low-income communities to determine if the same intervention will be as effective.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The major finding was that active play can be improved in childcare by facilitating teacher-led activities rather than allowing children only free-play time. The hope is that childcare policy will eventually change so that time is allocated to teacher-led physical activity rather than just supervised free-play.


2d

Hatch
Health Capital as Measured by Obesity in Single Headed Female Households.

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Combined data from the BLS consumer expenditure survey and the American Time Use Survey; Created a data set using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; Matched data sets using propensity score matching techniques; Analyzed subcategories of sample to predict the probability of overweight and respondent BMI; Developed a structural equation model using concepts of complexity economics

Outcomes & Impacts:
Eating a greater proportion of meals at home is associated with a lower probability of obesity; Sedentary behavior is associated with a higher probability of obesity; Secondary eating is associated with a lower probability of obesity; time spent cooking is associated with a lower probability of obesity.

Publications:
Kolodinsky, Jane, and Amanda Goldstein (2011). Time-Use and Food Pattern Influences on Obesity. Obesity. Advanced on-line publication: May 26, 2011; doi:10.1038/oby.2011.130

Kolodinsky, Jane and Amanda Goldstein (2011) What Does Time Got to Do with It? An Investigation of Obesity in Male versus Female Single Headed Households. ABST. Proceedings of the American Council on Consumer Interests. Voll. 57:13-15. available: http://www.consumerinterests.org/CIA/2011/2011_KolodinskyGoldstein.pdf


2d

Hatch
Personality traits predictors of healthy diet and obesity .

Principal Investigator: T. Sun

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The purpose of our project is to investigate the hierachical relationships between personal traits and healthy eating. For example, the Big Five personality traits (e.g., introvertedness) may not have a linear relationship with healthy eating. But it may be related to the dependent variable hierarchically through the mediation of other more concrete traits, such as compulsive eating. Due to an issue with IRB, our grant was approved by USDA on April 18, 2011 (although it was supposed to start on Oct. 1, 2010). Between April 18, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2011, we have accomplished the following: 1) We have conducted more literature reviews on the proposed hypotheses regarding the relationships between traits and healthy eating (this was partly done by a graduate student we hired in Summer 2010); 2) We have collected 123 surveys through surveymonkey.com among a group of college students in the US; 3) We hired a graduate student to help us with the Chinese version of our survey questionnaire to be distributed among a group of college students in China (to see whether our hierarchical model will be replicated in a different cultural context); 4) We hired another graduate student to continue our literature review. We have yet to disseminate our results to the communities as our survey collection is still a work in progress. In the coming months, we plan to collect our questionnaires among Chinese college students. Then based on the results from the college students data (both in the US and China), we will plan to add more variables (e.g., obesity) and survey a group of adult consumer panel subjects in the US and China (e.g., through zoomerang.com in the US).

Outcomes & Impacts:
As we are still working on the data collection among Chinese college student samples, we will start our preliminary data analyses after we are done with the Chinese sampling. Identifying hierarchical trait predictors of obesity can help us understand the causes of obesity, and help us improve clinical assessment and refine intervention/treatment approaches to obesity. Interventions that take into account individual differences may achieve better treatment outcomes. Knowledge of the patients' character can contribute to differential treatment planning (Terracciano, 2009). For example, treatments that highlight the importance of avoidance of impulsive snacking and compuslive eating may be particularly effective for those who are low in conscientiousness (assuming that we will identify significant relationships between conscientiousness and eating impulsiveness , and between conscientiousness and compulsive eating). If we would also find out that self-esteem and self-efficacy can significantly predict obesity, we could use self-esteem and self-efficacy as appeals to motivate weight loss behaviour in future intervention programs. Therefore, school-based and community-based obesity intervention programs will benefit from our project outcome, as they need assistance in identifying more innovative and creative approaches to effectively reach those who are at risk.