DFPM RED research on Food Insecurity & Childhood Obesity

November 2017

A recent paper (Published online: 22 Jun 2017) from DFPM RED researchers brings new statistics into the world of community-based evaluation.  The study used non-inferiority testing to examine the relationship between obesity and food security in children aged 3 to 5 years.

While traditionally used in pharmacology, this approach has found a niche in measuring equality between groups to conclude children suffering from food insecurity experience rates of obesity equivalent to or above food secure peers.  Having answered the relationship between obesity and food security, studies can move forward in the areas of food quality and other reasons underlying the high rates of obesity among starving youth.

ARTICLE: Application of Noninferiority Tests to Examine the Food Insecurity–Obesity Relationship in Children

Taren Swindle, Shalese Fitzgerald, Lorraine M. McKelvey & Leanne Whiteside-Mansell
Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition

DFPM RED recognized for work on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders

September 2017

DFPM RED has recently participated in Arkansas’ 5th Annual Conference on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders held on Thursday, September 14, 2017. On Wednesday, September 6, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared the month of September to be FASD Awareness Month in Arkansas. The official proclamation was presented to DFPM RED Research Associate Angela Kyzer and Outreach Coordinator Annemarie McGahagan. The proclamation was presented by None for Nine task force Vice President, Carol Rangel. Kyzer was also recognized for her work on the Taskforce, of which she is a member. Awards were also given to DFPM RED team members Mark Currey and Alicia Hamilton for work connected to None for Nine.

DFPM RED studies connection between maternal depression/alcohol use and behavioral issues in children.

September 2017Maternal depression illustration

A recently published DFPM RED study examines the Effects of Maternal Depression Symptoms and Alcohol Use Problems on Child Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems. The study, which included DFPM RED faculty Nikki Edge, Ph.D. and Lorraine McKelvey, Ph.D., examined the impact of maternal depression and alcohol use problems on children’s behavior problems over a period of five years. The study included 1,874 Head Start eligible families. The study highlights the importance of understanding and treating various kinds of behavioral health concerns in mothers of young children.

Read the full, published article.

TAPP is moving to PDR

August 2017

The Traveling Arkansas’ Professional Pathways (TAPP) Registry is transitioning to the new Professional Development Registry (PDR). The official move is schedule to be completed on August 31, 2017. PDR current has 3,000 members with a goal of 15,000!


August 2017

DFPM RED continues to be at the forefront of research-based work advocating for children in Arkansas and beyond. RED researchers work daily to study the factors that challenge and support children. RED research seeks, first, to understand and then to put understanding into usable practices that meet the needs of children across the state and the country. Here are just a few of RED’s recent publications… work that is truly making a difference.

  • McKelvey, L. M., Conners Edge, N.A., Fitzgerald, S., Kraleti, S., & Whiteside-Mansell, L., (in press).  Screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences from Birth to Five: Examining Associations with Children’s Health. Families, Systems, Health.
  • Swindle, T., Rutledge, J., Dix, B. & Whiteside-Mansell, L. (in press). Table Talk: Development of an Observational Tool to Characterize the Early Childcare Feeding Environment. Public Health Nutrition.
  • McKelvey, L. M., Selig, J. P., & Whiteside-Mansell, L. (2017, In Press). Foundations for Screening Adverse Childhood Experiences: Exploring Patterns of Exposure through Infancy and Toddlerhood.  Child Abuse and Neglect.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213417302284
  • Swindle, T., Ward, W, & Whiteside-Mansell, L. (in press). Facebook: The Use of Social Media to Engage Parents in a Pre-school Obesity Prevention Curriculum. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
  • Whiteside-Mansell, L. & Swindle, T. (in press). Together We Inspire Smart Eating: A Preschool WISE curriculum for obesity prevention in low-income families. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
  • Swindle, T., Johnson, S.L., Whiteside-Mansell, L., & Curran, G. (2017). A mixed methods protocol for developing and testing implementation strategies for evidence-based obesity prevention in childcare: A cluster randomized hybrid type III trial. Implementation Science, 12:90 DOI: 10.1186/s13012-017-0624-6

New DFPM RED publication on nutrition practices in early care and education setting

August 2017flowchart

A recent paper from DFPM RED published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior looks at studies on factors associated with nutrition practices in early care and education settings. The article suggests that these studies often focus on sociodemographic and programmatic characteristics. This qualitative study adapted and applied Dr. Jay Belsky’s determinants of parenting model to inform a broader exploration of Early Care and Education Teachers (ECETs) practices.  The RED study finds that the influence of ECET developmental histories and their related beliefs can be addressed through professional development and ongoing support. Future study should quantify model constructs in a larger sample and study their relationships over time.

Link to Article

Swindle, T., Patterson, Z., Boden, C. A Qualitative Application of the Belsky Model to Explore Early Care and Education Teachers’ Mealtime History, Beliefs, and Interactions. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

teacher with students

Happy school children enjoying their school dinners

New DFPM RED Research on “Table Talk” 

June 2017

A recent paper from DFPM RED (currently In Press) looks at the value of verbal feeding communications, or, “Table Talk” as a possible influencing

factor in children’s diets. The purpose of the paper is to present the development of the Table Talk observational tool to measure Early Care and Education Teachers (ECETs) verbal feeding communications.

The research introduces an observational tool to assess verbal communications at mealtime among 75 Head Start educators. The study evaluated both positive and supportive comments such as “Exploring Foods” as well as negative comments such as “Pressuring to Eat”.  The study concluded that “Table Talk” may be a useful tool to assess ECETs’ verbal feeding communications with potential applications such as informing ECET training and assessing intervention efforts.

Swindle, T., Rutledge, J., Dix, B. & Whiteside-Mansell, L. (in press). Table Talk: Development of an Observational Tool to Characterize the Early Childcare Feeding Environment. Public Health Nutrition.

New DFPM RED Research on Maternal Depression and Alcohol

May 2017bar chart

A recent paper from DFPM RED and UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute features new research highlighting the strong negative impact of maternal behavioral health problems on children’s outcomes. The study of more than 1800 children examines the impact of maternal depression and alcohol abuse on preschool-age children. Among the studies findings, results indicate that 50% of children whose mothers screened positive for alcohol problems (a score of 2 on the CAGE) had clinically significant problems with externalizing behavior (aggression, rule-breaking, acting out) by 5th grade.

Link to full paper

Arkansas None for Nine

May 2017

Arkansas’ 5th Annual Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) will be held on September 14th, 2017 at The Summit Church in North Little Rock. FASD are the leading cause of preventable developmental disorders, with the newest research indicating that almost 1/100 children are born on the spectrum. This means that FASD are more prevalent than Down Syndrome, cleft palate, and spina bifida.

This year’s keynote speaker is Dan Dubovsky, former FASD Specialist at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  As both a professional and parent of an individual on the spectrum, Mr. Dubovsky brings more than 25 years’ experience to the table.

Download the flyer with conference information, as well as the link to registration.

None for Nine logo




May 3rd is World Maternal Mental Health Day!

Maternal Mental Health Day graphic


Dean’s Honor Day 2017 Celebrates DFPM RED Team Member!

April 2017

DFPM RED Research and Data Coordinator and Administrative Lead, LaTunja Sockwell, B.A., was honored with a 2017 Staff Excellence Award for her work with RED. Ms. Sockwell was nominated by RED director  Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Ed.D. with special notice taken of seven HIV-focused research projects initiated by Ms. Sockwell over the last two years.  The event was featured in the April 2017 edition of COMmunication, UAMS’ monthly newsletter highlighting noteworthy events in the UAMS family.  Congratulations, LaTunja!

DFPM RED and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)

March 2017

DFPM RED faculty member Lorraine McKelvey, Ph.D. recently completed work (with other RED team members) on a year-long, grant-funded, study on ACEs impact in Head Start classrooms. Dr. McKelvey’s team has recently submitted a paper to Child Abuse and Neglect highlighting the work done in the study. The study looked at outcomes for ACEs exposed kids based on timing of exposure. The study identified five classes of children:

  • Consistently Low (63.8%)
  • Decreasing (10.3%)
  • High at Age 2 (11.4%)
  • Increasing (10.4%)
  • Consistently High (4%)

The Consistently Low and Consistently High classes had the most and least optimal development across all domains, respectively. However, the findings for the groups that changed weren’t exactly those expected. For cognitive, language, and physical development, the most proximal ACEs were more robust for predicting child outcomes. For socioemotional health, exposure at any time from one to three to ACEs had negative consequences. As a whole, the team concluded that ACEs screening tools were needed that are both time-sensitive and permit a lifetime report.

March 2017

REACH targets programs with limited access to state professional development resources and offers training and coaching to manage challenging behaviors and promote social-emotional health.

The project has multiple measures of success; however, the project team’s capacity to REACH is a critical one! We are proud to report that in March 2017, REACH served the following, through TAPP registered workshops:

  • 7 counties
  • 11 facilities
  • ­­140 (unduplicated) participants receiving training, including teachers, directors, other facility staff
  • 684—approximate number of children served by these facilities/staff

There were 40 Technical Assistance contacts (e.g. classroom visits, email, text, and phone) to 16 different facilities in 12 cities during March 2017.  These March numbers are pretty typical for this group! Great early childhood education going on in Arkansas!

REACH logo