Start Date: September 2008

ID #: 65051

Principal Investigator: David Hartley, PhD, MHA

Co-Principal Investigator: Kimberley Fox, MPA

Organization: University of Southern Maine

Funding Round: Round 3

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The goal of this study is to examine how food environments influence rural childhood obesity rates and food choices, in order to ultimately help policymakers find effective rural policy interventions. Specifically, this research will investigate the community-based healthy food environment (defined as food access, cost and quality for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat food items and whole grain products) in rural low-income Maine communities with high rates of obesity to: 1) incorporate the food environment into a conceptual model for rural childhood obesity; 2) assess how food environments affect eating behaviors and obesity of rural children enrolled in Medicaid/ SCHIP (MaineCare); 3) develop and adapt measures for assessing rural food environments and healthy eating by low-income rural children, and 4) identify policies and programs suitable for improving food environments in rural communities. In addition, qualitative methods will used with children and their parents to explore barriers and supports to healthy eating.

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