Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 82
Objective: Toidentify perceptions of the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) Family and Consumer Science (FCS) agents in Louisiana in the planning and implementation of community-based approaches to obesity prevention that promote policy, system, and environment (PSE) change strategies through community coalitions.
Methods: This qualitative, exploratory study used focus groups discussions (FGD) to understand FCS agents' perceptions, knowledge, attitudes, and skills regarding collaborating with and leading community coalitions to plan, develop and implement community-based, socio-ecological approaches to obesity prevention. Seven open-ended questions were constructed based on the study objectives and guided by the Precede-Proceed Model. Recent literature findings on ecological approaches to obesity prevention were also considered during question development. Five FGD were conducted, one in each of the five regions of the State CES. The FGD were transcribed verbatim and coded and themed using a constant comparative approach. Identified themes and sub themes were classified as predisposing, enabling, or reinforcing factors to planning and implementation of socio-ecological, community-based approaches to obesity prevention
Results: The CES FCS extension agents (n=35; 97% of all agents in the state) were included in the study. All participants were female and were responsible for conducting programming in parishes (counties). The principal factors that influenced an FCS extension agents' ability to plan and implement socio-ecological, community-based obesity prevention approaches that promote PSE change strategies were: knowledge of the socio-ecological model, beliefs about roles of the CES, funding, human resources, community connectedness, community buy-in, autonomy and guidance and internal support for the initiative.
Conclusion: Factors that facilitated or impeded FCS extension agents' ability to plan and implement community-based approaches should be addressed in training and development opportunities for CES agents. These findings may be beneficial to other agencies who are implementing multi-level, community-based obesity prevention outreach programs that promote PSE change strategies.
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Louisiana State University