Journal Club 3: Together We Inspire Smart Eating: A Preschool Curriculum for Obesity Prevention in Low-Income Families

(Recorded 2/19/18)

Speakers: Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, EdD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences & Taren M. Swindle, PhD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

This talk will examine the development, theoretical foundation, evidence of feasibility and acceptability, and effectiveness of Together, We Inspire Smart Eating” (WISE). WISE is a research-based curriculum developed to target preschool and elementary school children attending schools serving children from low-income backgrounds. WISE includes three key components: (a) the classroom curriculum including the mascot, Windy Wise, a barn owl, (b) educator training, and (c) material/technology to educate parents.

The classroom curriculum encourages increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, fosters healthy attitudes and behaviors towards trying new healthy foods, and strengthens children's agricultural literacy. Process evaluation results will include an overview of implementation success and barriers. Outcome evaluation will include changes in educator knowledge and behavior, parent report of dietary intake compared with children not receiving WISE, and Skin Carotenoid pre/post assessment of consumption.

Learning Objectives

  1. The participants will review the theoretical foundation for an obesity prevention program that targets vulnerable populations as defined by lack of financial resources.
  2. The participants will link this foundation to the key components of the WISE curriculum.
  3. The participants will discuss the implementation barriers WISE presented and the team’s efforts to address.
  4. The participants will examine the outcomes of the multiple methods outcomes assessment and recommendations for future community-based interventions.

Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, EdD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Ed. D. is a Professor and Director of the Research and Evaluation Division (RED) in the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine (DFPM) at UAMS. Dr. Whiteside-Mansell served as Co-PD and jointly developed (with Dr. Swindle) “Together, We Inspire Smart Eating” and referenced by the acronym WISE with NIFA-funding project (#2011-68001-30014). She currently is the faculty led at UAMS for USDA Team Nutrition funding (Team Nutrition - We Inspire Smart Eating AR (TN-WISE); #FNS-CNTN-16-AR). Dr. Whiteside-Mansell coordinated the development and evaluation of the WISE program for both preK and K-1 settings. Whiteside-Mansell has more than 90 publications related to obesity prevention, parenting and child development in at-risk populations and has conducted research targeting children and families living in poverty since 1993.

Taren M. Swindle, PhD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Taren M. Swindle, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Family and Preventive Medicine within the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Broadly, her research program focuses on understanding and improving health and developmental outcomes for children impacted by poverty. Dr. Swindle has a particular focus on obesity prevention and nutrition promotion for young children in low-income families. Her work to date has focused on the early childcare setting as a key context for obesity prevention and nutrition intervention. She is interested in increasing adoption of evidence-based practices and interventions in community settings such as this through application of Implementation Science. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from the University of Memphis and currently holds a career development award from NIDDK.