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Keywords

Children, Community-based participatory research, Obesity, Type 2 diabetes.

 

Authors

  1. Lipman, Terri H. PhD, CRNP, FAAN
  2. Schucker, Mary McGrath MSN, CRNP, CPNP
  3. Ratcliffe, Sarah J. PhD
  4. Holmberg, Tyler BA
  5. Baier, Scott BA
  6. Deatrick, Janet A. PhD, RN, FAAN

Abstract

Purpose: This project was a 4-year university/community collaboration to (1) screen for diabetes risk factors in children from in an inner-city community; (2) assess children's knowledge of nutrition and measure their physical endurance; and (3) survey parents about barriers to healthy living.

 

Study Design and Methods: Descriptive cross-sectional study utilizing a community participatory-based research approach. For a 4-week period each year, nurse practitioner students and high school students partnered in an evaluation of elementary school children that included assessment of (1) height, weight, waist circumference, BMI, and acanthosis nigricans; (2) scores on a nutrition knowledge test; and (3) recovery heart rate after a dance activity. Parents of the children were surveyed regarding barriers to healthy eating and activity.

 

Results: A total of 240 African American children were evaluated: 25% were obese, 24% had a waist circumference >95th percentile, and 14% had acanthosis nigricans. The mean score of a nutrition knowledge test was 65%, and recovery heart rates were significantly higher than preexercise heart rates. Of 48 parents surveyed, the most common barrier to eating healthy reported was the children's picky eating (62%), and most common barrier to activity was lack of access to safe places to play (54%).

 

Clinical Implications: Nurses working with children from inner-city communities should be especially aware of the children's many risk factors for diabetes. Clinicians who hope to make a difference in altering these risks should collaborate with the community to target high-risk populations for diabetes screening, promote good nutrition and exercise, and address barriers to healthy living. When developing plans of care for children, regardless of setting, it is critical to understand the community and incorporate the families as partners in developing culturally relevant interventions.