Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 100

P06-079 - Evaluation of a Virtual Childhood Obesity Prevention, Research-Based Course

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM


A childhood obesity prevention (COP) graduate course taught online and in-person at 3 universities as part of HomeStyles USDA project aimed to build skills in developing effective COP programs.


Students met in-person on their home campus and were linked virtually and synchronously to other campuses for 75 min/week for discussions on COP research topics: HomeStyles project as a case study, systematic literature reviews, behavior change theory and motivational interviewing application to weight-related behaviors, mission of land-grant institutions, Cooperative Extension obesity prevention programs, and skills for reporting research findings at professional meetings. The primary assignment was a systematic literature review including searching PubMed using MESH terms, identification of pertinent articles, and extracting and summarizing findings. Enrolled students (n=14, 79% MS) anonymously completed a 39-item post-course evaluation.


One student (PhD) had taken a COP course previously. All students agreed or strongly agreed the course increased their understanding of HomeStyles' goals, federal nutrition programs, role of land-grant institutions, and systematic review procedures (searching, MESH terms, data extraction, critical evaluation, data summarization). Most (85%) students reported gaining a better understanding of behavior change theory, motivational interviewing, and their use in research. More than two-thirds felt they better understood Adult Learning Theory. Nearly all reported gaining a better understanding of qualitative data use, how to present research findings to peers, conduct focus groups, analyze qualitative data, and write abstracts for research presentations. Students reported feeling more comfortable and prepared to discuss COP programming, community needs for and benefits of collaborative COP programs, and how to clarify misconceptions surrounding COP. Students' level of confidence in leading a COP team had room for improvement. Virtual interaction with other universities were gauged as beneficial with suggestions for technology improvements.


Students gained knowledge and confidence in skills needed to participate in COP research. Student feedback will guide refinement of the course.

Funding Source:

United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Grant Number 2017-680001-26351

CoAuthors: Rashel Clark – West Virginia University; Rebecca Hagedorn – West Virginia University; Kaitlyn Eck – Rutgers University; Carol Byrd-Bredbenner – Rutgers University; Karla Shelnutt – University of Florida; Melissa Olfert – West Virginia University

Miriam P. Leary

Post-doc Fellow
West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia