Fall 2010 Newsletter
The University of Iowa Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (UI PRC-RH) is a CDC Prevention Research Center that focuses on improving health in rural communities. The PRC-RH is in the data gathering phase for two new projects aimed at studying the health behaviors of two different rural populations.
In the first study, the PRC-RH has partnered with the River Hills Community Health Center in Ottumwa, IA to conduct a telephone survey assessment of adult patients’ diet and exercise behaviors. This study will also investigate patients’ use of existing community resources to improve upon these behaviors. The purpose of the study is to understand how to help patients change their diet and exercise habits, so that they can live healthier lives and avoid a number of chronic health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The survey will provide information on what existing community resources may be under-utilized and what new resources may need to be developed.
The second study will investigate how to promote nutritional information, especially among the elderly, in rural libraries. The first phase of the study includes conducting an online survey among state librarians for the purpose of gathering information about what might already be in place for disseminating nutritional information, and assessing barriers to providing information. Please see the full story on this new project below.
PRC-RH Project Investigates Nutrition Promotion Among
Project researcher, Ulrike Schultz, MD, MPH, CHES, presents findings from the nutrition information telephone survey among older adults at Research Week 2010.
According to the State of Aging and Health in America Report, approximately 71 million (20 percent) of the U.S. population will be older adults in 2030. Although medical care and prevention efforts have improved in the last decades, there are currently 80 percent of older adults in the U.S. living with at least one chronic condition. Poor diet is one major risk factor for a chronic disease, and improving healthy eating and nutrition of older adults is not only important for maintaining good health, but also to improve the quality of life and extend the productive life span of older adults.
A project sponsored by the Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (PRC-RH) is looking at rural libraries in Iowa and how to present and best promote nutrition information, especially among older rural adults. Currently, the project is in its formative research stage. Focus groups, conducted by the research team of the PRC-RH, found that older rural adults in Iowa are in need of more information about nutrition, as well as healthy eating and cooking. Moreover, a telephone survey among 321 elderly in Iowa, assessing nutrition information needs and wants, found that the majority of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they would like to have more nutrition information from their public library. Past studies found that public libraries are successful in providing consumer health information, and are excellent partners for promoting health. Based on these findings it is planned to conduct interviews with rural public librarians to assess how to best promote nutrition information delivery in public libraries for older adults in rural Iowa. A community-based nutrition intervention will be planned based on the findings, in the future.