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Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: A Response to a Nutrition and Physical Activity Intervention

Kicklighter, J.R., Whitley, D.M., Kelley, S.J., Shipskie, S.M., Taube, J.L., Berry, R.C.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2007 v.107 no.7 pp. 1210-1213
elderly, education programs, urban areas, elderly nutrition, traditional foods, parenting, child nutrition, community nutrition programs, family resource management, nutrition education, physical activity, children, family support, foodways, family structure, African Americans, grandparents, food choices, nutrition knowledge, United States
This pilot study explored the impact of an educational program on nutrition and physical activity knowledge of urban African-American grandparents raising their grandchildren. The program was integrated into a community-based intervention, Project Healthy Grandparents, and was implemented during the first 15 minutes of 10 grandparent support groups and parenting classes. Subjects included 22 grandparents who attended at least six sessions and completed pre- and posttests of nutrition and physical activity knowledge. Participants' posttest scores were significantly higher than their pretest scores (P<0.05), indicating an increase in knowledge. Eighteen grandparents provided insights about diet and physical activity and barriers to lifestyle changes during an audiotaped focus group. Based on analysis of the focus group's discussion, three major influences on healthful eating and physical activity emerged, including financial considerations, presence of grandchildren in the home, and preference for traditional cultural foods. Themes from the focus group were consistent with responses on the nutrition and physical activity knowledge test. Satisfaction with the program was very high and no specific recommendations for improvements were made. Results can guide future nutrition interventions for this target group and potentially contribute to grandparents' improved health and ability to care for their grandchildren.