Research News You Can Use
UF UNIVERSITY of
Family, Youth and CiGommiillutit
Athletic Participation and Adolescent Sexual Behavior
Submitted by: Sally Moore, M.S. and Rosemary V. Barnett, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Youth
Development and Public Policy
The Effects of Athletic Participation on Adolescent Sexual Debut. Moore, S.,
Barnett, R., Brennan, M., & Gibson, H. (2007).
According to the CDC, approximately 34% of adolescents in the United States are currently
sexually active (defined as having had sexual intercourse in the past three months) and 46.7%
have had sex at least once (Grunbaum, Kann, Kinchen, Ross, Hawkins, Lowry, et al., 2004).
Early initiation of sexual activity can lead to devastating consequences. Sexually active
adolescents may experience unwanted pregnancy, contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI),
or suffer difficulties in relationships with parents or peers. Identifying and understanding
antecedent factors that might influence an adolescent's decisions to engage in sexual behavior is
vital if we hope to protect adolescents from these consequences. An ecological model developed
by Small and Luster (2004) proposed that the accumulation and interaction of various risk factors
at the individual (intellectual ability, gender, self-esteem), familial (connection to parents, family
structure, socio-economic status), and extrafamilial level (having a boyfriend/girlfriend, peer
group, attachment to school) work to influence the sexual decisions made by adolescents. One
factor in particular that may influence adolescent sexual behavior is sport participation. Sport is
an extrafamilial factor that has been found to have both positive (Kirkcaldy, Shephard, & Siefen,
2002; Petitpas, Van Raalte, Cornelius, & Presbrey, 2004) and negative (Baumert, Henderson, &
Thompson,1998; La Greca, Prinstein, & Fetter, 2001) effects on adolescent participants.
Research designed to examine the impact of athletic participation specifically on sexual behavior
is limited and inconclusive, but suggests that some link does exist (Lehman & Koemer, 2004;
Savage & Holcomb, 1999). This study examined numerous factors at each of the ecological
levels to determine their relationship with age of sexual debut and overall sexual activity. In
particular, this study attempted to elucidate the relationship between sport participation and
A self-completion questionnaire created for this study was administered in undergraduate general
education classes to a sample of 437 participants aged 18-25 (29.3% male, 70.7% female). The
questionnaire consisted of the following conceptual areas: athletic participation, Athletic Identity
Measurement Scale (AIMS), ecological variables, Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS), sexual
activity, and sociodemographics. Due to exclusions based on age or involuntary sexual debut,
417 questionnaires were used for data analysis. Data were analyzed using a variety of tests,
including descriptive statistics, bivariate analyses (Cross-tabs, t-tests, ANOVA) to examine
possible relationships between the dependent variables and both independent and demographic
variables, and multiple regressions to explore these relationships in a multivariate context.
A total of 252 respondents (64.3%) reported already having their sexual debut. The mean age of
sexual debut was 17.19 years; reported ages ranged from 13.00 to 24.00 years. ANOVA
revealed significant differences in age of sexual debut by indices measuring Values and Risk
Avoidance, with respondents reporting higher scores on these indices reported older ages of
sexual debut. A significant difference in age of sexual debut was also found for the statement I
felt like I received a good education in high school, with respondents indicating strong
agreement reporting much older ages of sexual debut than those who said they felt neutral about
the statement. A reduced multiple regression model was developed by entering all demographic
(gender, race/ethnic origin, religious affiliation, athlete status) and independent (ecological
variables, sensation seeking domains) variables and systematically removing the least significant
until only the statistically significant variables remained. This model, which accounted for just
over 14% of the variance in age of sexual debut (Adj. R2 = .142), revealed that Values, Risk
Avoidance, and I felt like I received a good education in high school were all positively related
to age of sexual debut; higher scores corresponded with later ages of sexual debut.
Respondents were asked to indicate on a scale of 1 (Never) to 5 (A Lot) the frequency with
which they engaged in a series of eight behaviors on a sexual activity continuum (kissing; French
kissing; touching a partner's breast or having your breast touched by a partner; touching a
partner's penis or having your penis touched by a partner; touching a partner's vagina or having
your vagina touched by a partner; performing oral sex; receiving oral sex; sexual intercourse
[vaginal penetration]). Responses to these items were combined to create an overall sexual
activity scale (Cronbach's alpha = .95), with higher scores indicating higher overall level of
sexual activity. Males reported significantly higher sexual activity scores than did females.
ANOVA revealed that scores on Risk Avoidance, Values, and Parental Monitoring indices were
negatively related to sexual activity score. Additionally, propensity for sensation seeking
behavior, measured by total score on the BSSS, was positively related to sexual activity score;
higher sensation seekers reported higher levels of sexual activity. A reduced regression model,
accounting for approximately 28% of the variance in sexual activity (Adj. R2 .281), revealed
that Values, Risk Avoidance, and Parental Monitoring were all negatively related to sexual
activity. Connection to School and Others was found to be significantly and positively related to
sexual activity; higher scores on this index corresponded with higher sexual activity scores.
Further, the sensation seeking domain of Disinhibition was also significantly and positively
related to sexual activity; higher sensation seekers in this domain reported higher sexual activity
scores. Lastly, current athlete status was significant, with current athletes reporting lower sexual
activity scores than nonathletes.
Respondents were categorized as being current athletes (respondents who were athletes in high
school and currently participate in sport at the collegiate or club/intramural level 29%), high
school athletes (respondents who were athletes in high school and are no longer active in sport -
36.5%), or nonathletes (respondents who were not athletes in high school 31.2%). ANOVA
revealed significant differences in Connection to School and Others by athlete status group.
Current athletes reported the highest scores on this index, followed by high school athletes and,
lastly, nonathletes. A t-test examining sensation seeking and athlete status revealed that athletes
(current and high school athletes combined) reported higher propensity for sensation seeking
than did nonathletes. To explore possible differences in the variables affecting athletes and
nonathletes, a series of reduced multiple regression analyses were conducted with sexual activity
as the dependent variable. While many variables were significant for athletes and nonathletes,
numerous differences related to athlete status were also discovered.
The first model was conducted by selecting only the nonathletes and included all
demographic and independent variables. This model accounted for almost 24% of the
variance in sexual activity score (Adj. R2 = .237). Four variables were found to be
statistically significant. Risk Avoidance and Parental Monitoring were negatively related
to sexual activity; as scores on these items increased, sexual activity score decreased.
Connection to School and Others and the sensation seeking domain Experience Seeking
were positively related to sexual activity; as scores on these items increased, so did
sexual activity score.
The second model was by conducted selecting only the athletes and included the same
independent and demographic variables as the nonathlete model. This model accounted
for 30% of the variance in sexual activity score (Adj. R2= .302). Five variables were
found to be statistically significant. Risk Avoidance and Values were negatively related
to sexual activity; those reporting higher scores on these items reported lower sexual
activity scores. Connection to School and Others and sensation seeking domain
Disinhibition were positively related to sexual activity; those reporting higher scores on
these items also reported higher sexual activity scores. Age was also positively related to
sexual activity, with older respondents reporting higher sexual activity scores.
The last model was again conducted by selecting only the athletes and included the initial
independent and demographic variables, as well as additional sport participation variables.
This model accounted for approximately 36% of the variance in sexual activity score
(Adj. R2 = .366). Eight variables were found to be statistically significant. Age was
again positively related to sexual activity; older respondents reported higher sexual
activity scores. The sensation seeking domain Disinhibition and the AIMS statement I
was part of the most popular group at school were positively associated with sexual
activity; as scores on these items increased, so did sexual activity score. Risk Avoidance,
Values, and AIMS Social Identity were negatively associated with sexual activity; as
scores on these times increased, sexual activity score decreased. Additionally, contact
sport and team sport were negatively associated with sexual activity. Contact sport
players reported generally lower sexual activity scores than noncontact sport players,
while team sport participants reported generally lower sexual activity scores than
individual sport participants.
Conclusion and Implications for Extension Programs
Results of this study support an ecological approach to adolescent sexual behavior, one in which
numerous factors combine and interact to influence an adolescent's sexual decision making.
Conclusions reached through this study have far-reaching implications for practitioners working
with adolescents. First, this study clearly demonstrates that athletes and nonathletes are two
distinct groups of students. Understanding this distinction may help school officials and youth
workers more effectively reach both populations, specifically in the realm of sexual behavior.
For example, athletes reported higher sensation seeking, which was related to increased sexual
activity. Recognizing this fact allows practitioners working directly with youth to target students
involved in sport, and to ensure that this drive for excitement is focused in healthy, structured
activities rather than risky sexual behaviors or other risk behaviors, such as drug or alcohol use.
Coaches, teachers, or other practitioners working with the student athlete population should
emphasize the importance of sport participation and the pride they should have in their
achievements. This emphasis could enhance some of the positive facets of athletic identity,
which were associated with lower sexual activity scores. Secondly, it is important to note that
influential factors identified through this research exist at the individual (gender, personal risk
avoidance, propensity for sensation seeking, athletic identity), familial (parental monitoring,
parental values toward sex), and extrafamilial level (risk behaviors of close friends, school
attachment, connection to school and others, sport participation). Thus, practitioners hoping to
affect adolescent sexual behavior must work to address the whole environment, rather than the
specific behavior. This recommendation echoes that forwarded by Brindis (2006), who
advocated for more global youth development programs. Programs should include components
addressing such issues as overall healthy decision making, commitment to school, and positive
peer influence; each of these areas is supported by the results of this study. By positively
impacting adolescents' environments more broadly, youth workers, school personnel, and
extension agents can better hope to make a difference in their lives as a whole, and to improve
their sexual decision making specifically.
Baumert, P., Henderson, J., & Thompson, N. (1998). Health risk behaviors of
adolescent participants in organized sports. Journal of Adolescent Health, 22,
Brindis, C. (2006). A public health success: Understanding policy changes related to teen
sexual activity and pregnancy. American Review of Public Health, 27, 277-295.
Grunbaum, J., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., Lowry, R., et al. (2004).
Youth risk behavior surveillance United States, 2003 (abridged). Journal of
School Health, 74(8), 307-324.
Kirkcaldy, B., Shephard, R., Siefen, R. (2002). The relationship between physical
activity and self-image and problem behaviour among adolescents. Social
Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 37, 544-550.
La Greca, A., Prinstein, M., & Fetter, M. (2001). Adolescent peer crowd affiliation:
Linkages with health-risk behaviors and close friendships. Journal ofPediatric
Psychology, 26(3), 131-143.
Lehman, S. & Koerner, S. (2004). Adolescent women's sports involvement and sexual
behavior/health: A process-level investigation. Journal of Youth and
Adolescence, 33(5), 443-455.
Petipas, A., Van Raalte, J., Cornelius, A., & Presbrey, J. (2004). A life skills
development program for high school student-athletes. The Journal ofPrimary
Savage, M. & Holcomb, D. (1999). Adolescent female athlete's sexual risk-taking
behaviors. Journal of Youth andAdolescence, 28.5, 595-603.
Small, S. & Luster, T. (1994). Adolescent sexual activity: An ecological, risk-factor
approach. Journal ofMarriage and the Family, 56, 181-192.
Perceptions of Fatness: How Do Men and Women Differ?
Submitted by: Eboni J. Baugh, PhD, Assistant Professor of Family Life
Arguette, Mara; Yates, Alayne; & Edman, Jeanne. "Gender Differences in Attitudes
about Fat." North American Journal of Psychology v. 8, 1 (2006)
03c8d58a5a5a%40sessionmgr2 (accessed August 28, 2007).
America's obsession with thinness has been linked to many sources from the media, family and
peer influences, genetics, etc. Gender has also been connected to obsession with weight and
general dissatisfaction with the body. In this article, the researchers examined male and female
perceptions of fat and the internalization or externalization of thin messages from society.
College students in the Midwest were recruited from undergraduate psychology and education
classes at two universities. The participants completed self-report measures on dislike of fat
people, body dissatisfaction, and social position. In addition to the surveys, students' BMI
(body-mass index) calculations were taken in order to compare ideal and actual body weight.
The authors initially hypothesized that women internalize messages about thinness and
subsequently exhibit an increased dissatisfaction with their own bodies, while men externalize
messages, which result in a dislike of fat people. Other gendered differences highlighted in the
Women were more likely to diet and skip meals
The women surveyed admitted to frequent dieting and skipping meals on a regular basis.
Women skipped breakfast and dinner more than men, with dinner being the
biggest difference among the sexes.
Women wanted to lose as much as three times as much weight as men. Men were more satisfied
with their bodies.
Only 8% of the sample reported being satisfied with their current weight. Women wanted to
lose an average of 19.5 pounds while men only wanted to lose an average of 6.7.
Men valued thinness in others more than in themselves.
Men consistently reported more negative attitudes and statements about fat people than
women. This occurred despite the fact that men had higher BMIs than women.
People who are satisfied with their bodies expressed more dislike of fat people.
Heavier participants were less likely to dislike fat people than those who were satisfied
with their own body weight. Men, who expressed more satisfaction with themselves,
reported a greater dissatisfaction with other people who were heavier.
Implications for Extension Programs
Extension professionals creating and delivering programs could benefit from the information
included in this article. Program materials and activities tailored to each gender allows for more
personal extension work. Suggested areas of work include:
Body image and eating disorders information and prevention
Mate selection and dating
As women internalize their attractiveness and perceive their value based on physical standards
they are more susceptible to body image problems and eating disorders. As men judge the
physical appearance of others with a more critical eye than they judge themselves: it can place
them at an increased risk for obesity. Recognizing these gendered differences in perceptions
about weight and attractiveness is needed in order to help combat problems that plague both men
and women in regards to weight and health.
Schoolwide food practices are associated with body mass index
in middle school students
Submitted by: Linda B. Bobroff, Ph.D., RD, LD/N, Professor Nutrition and Health
Kubik MY, Lytle LA and Story M. "Schoolwide food practices are associated
with body mass index in middle school students." Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.
159: 1111-1114 (December 2005).
The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity in the U.S. has raised concerns among health
care providers, parents, teachers, and others interested in the health of young people. The causes
of the increase in obesity among even very young children have not been clearly identified,
although a combination of factors are likely involved. The school environment has been under
scrutiny for a number of reasons including the lack of physical education and recess, branded (a
la carte) food items available in the lunchrooms, high-fat and/or sugar snack foods and beverages
in vending machines, use of candy as rewards in classrooms, and fundraising activities involving
candy or other foods of poor nutritional quality. Researchers in Minnesota (Kubik et al.)
investigated the association between school food practices and body mass index among middle
Researchers collected data on school food practices and measured body mass index (BMI) of
students at 16 schools in the St. Paul-Minneapolis metropolitan area. This study was conducted
as part of a healthy lifestyles intervention, Teens Eating for Energy and Nutrition at School
(TEENS), which was designed to reduce future cancer risk in the students.
Students self-reported their heights and weights which were used to calculate BMI. The authors
indicate that in this age group, self-reported heights and weights correlated well with measured
data (r=0.92). Information about school food practices was obtained by interviewing school
administrators using a standardized interview schedule developed by the TEENS researchers,
and used to generate a food practice score for each school. The seven items included in the
food scale related to food used as reward or incentive; permission for students to have foods and
beverages in the classroom and hallways; and use of food sales for fundraising in classrooms and
The researchers hypothesized that higher food practice scores would be positively associated
with higher BMI of the students.
Demographics of students. Most (70%) of the students were white, 51% were male, and 20%
participated in the free or reduced-price lunch program. More than half of the students reported
having two parents who worked full-time and 49% had at least one parent who completed
college. The mean age was 14.2 years and mean BMI was 21 (range was 12.9 to 37.9). Fifteen
percent of the sample was at risk for overweight (BMI between 85th and up to the 95th percentile)
and 8% were overweight (at or over the 95th percentile).
Prevalence of food practices. The food practice that was most commonly allowed (11 of 16
schools, 69%) was use of food or food coupons as reward or incentive for students and the
second most prevalent practice (nine of 16 schools, 56%) was having classroom fundraising that
includes food sales. The average food practice score was three (highest score possible was seven,
and the range of scores among the 16 schools was 0 to seven).
Association between food practice score and BMI. As the researchers hypothesized, the school
food practice score was positively associated with the students' BMI. In the school studied, with
each additional food practice allowed within a school, there was a 10% increase in BMI.
One of the factors identified as part of our "obesogenic" culture is the constant exposure to and
availability of food (particularly high calorie food) in our environment. In the study described,
we see that most of the food practices addressed in this study related to availability of foods or
beverages to students during the school day. Schools may be a significant source of excess
calories among students and, therefore, a contributor to the rise in obesity among young people.
With a change in food policies, schools could be one environment in which young people learn
that food does not need to be constantly available. One particularly troublesome practice, which
happened to be the most common one among the 16 schools studied, is the use of food or food
coupons as a reward or incentive for students. Although this study was conducted several years
ago, using food as a reward is still not uncommon in schools, but may be one of the food
practices addressed by emerging school wellness policies. Another food practice that was
commonly allowed in these schools was use of food in school fundraising. Alternatives have
been identified and shown to be profitable for schools (Johansen et al.).
A recent study (Nollen et al.) found that high school principals and school food service personnel
did not appear to recognize a significant role for the schools in limiting access to foods and
beverages that might be contributing to excess calorie intake during the school day (e.g., vending
sales and a la carte items in cafeterias). This could be a barrier to collaborative efforts to change
school food policies that contribute to excess food intake and increased risk for obesity among
Implications for Extension Programs
Addressing the issue of childhood obesity through healthy lifestyles programs for all children
and youth (not just those identified as overweight) is within the scope of Extension's nutrition
and health programs as well as work with 4-H youth programs in traditional as well as school
enrichment environments. Extension can bring a variety of nutrition and physical activity
programs into school classrooms and after-school environments to promote healthy lifestyle
choices, and engage parents and teachers in this effort. In addition, this research points to the
potential value of including the schools themselves as a target for changes that will contribute to
a more positive environment for young people. Working in school and community coalitions to
review and change school food policies addressed in this research study can be an additional way
in which Extension can have an impact on the environment that fosters overeating and increased
risk for obesity among young people. These activities already are being implemented in many
county Extension programs.
In addition, being aware that school administrators and school food service personnel may be
reluctant to acknowledge the potential negative effects of food fund raisers, poor a la carte food
choices, and food used as classroom rewards, can help Extension faculty work effectively in the
school environment to raise awareness in a non-confrontational and positive way.
Johanson J. and Wootan MG. Sweet deals: school fundraising can be healthy and
profitable. Center for Science in the Public Interest. Available at:
www.cspinet.org/schoolfundraising.pdf. Accessed September 3, 2007.
Nollen NL, Befort CA, Snow P, Daley CM, Ellerbeck EF and Ahluwalia JS. The school
food environment and adolescent obesity: qualitative insights from high school principals
and food service personnel. Intl J Behav Nutr Phys Activ. 4:18 (2007). Available at:
http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/4/1/18. Accessed September 3, 2007.
The Self Renewing Organization
Submitted by: Elizabeth B. Bolton, Ph.D. Professor of Community Development
Connors, Tracy D. (2001). "The Self-Renewing Organization." The nonprofit handbook:
Management, Third edition. New York: John Wiley & sons, Inc. (p. 3-45).
This is a book chapter that provides the introduction for the study of nonprofit organizations,
their management and governance in the present and the future. He discusses the concept of
excellence in terms of applying the fundamentals of organizational improvement that do not
require extensive training in quantitative analysis and or statistical theory. Rather, it requires a
definition of excellence within the functional areas of an organization and a set of basic
definitions applied to levels of quality achievement. (p. 4)
In the latter part of the 19the century, the USA was consumed with the idea of quality
management and how it could be attained. Managers and executives sought prescriptions and
models that would align them with the quality management thought to be behind Japan's success.
This view gave way to the belief that there are three essential components necessary for
achieving and sustaining excellence: efficiency, effectiveness and organizational environment.
Quality management by itself is not enough. It must be accompanied by "knowing where we are
going, why we are going there and how we plan to get there" (p. 6). Connors says this must be
accompanied by constantly improving everything we do and making it safe to change for
ourselves and for those to whom we are responsible. Change is the only constant and it will
happen whether or not is planned. The effective leader is required to manage and to benefit from
it. More importantly the effective leader will seek to initiate change in the organization and not
simply react to change when it occurs.
A second component of the self-renewing organization is that it must be aware of where it is in
the life cycle. He compares the organization life cycle to the human life cycle as a constant
process of birth, death and rebirth, a renewal or regeneration. While strategic planning is
important, it is not enough by itself. It must be customer focused and committed to its mission to
serving the public purpose for which it was formed. When organizations are synchronized with
their operating environment, they are more relevant, aware and fresh. When they are not, they
become irrelevant and out of touch.
Connors proposes an excellence equation as the key to sustainability. When organizations are
meeting their pubic purpose by staying within their mission and operating in synchronization
with their environment, they achieve the criterion of excellence. Unfortunately this is rare. For
an organization to achieve and sustain excellence it must self-renewing and "exploit the dynamic
interdependent relationship among effectiveness, efficiency, and environment-the excellence
equation" (p. 10).
In order to be effective, self-renewing organizations must know their public service purpose is
both valid and viable and shape the delivery of services so that they are customer focused. They
use strategic planning to make decisions, allocate resources and manage the organization.
Finally, the must achieve tangible business results with their programs and services.
The second part o the equation is efficiency and self-renewing organizations achieve then when
they perform well and economically without wasting time, energy and materials. They use
process management techniques to improve customer service and information an analysis to
support the decision making process.
The third part of the excellence equation is to create and sustain a transformational
organizational environment in both leadership and utilization of human resources. Connors says
that visionary leadership is needed to establish the direction needed to promote high performance
and individual development. The leadership must link the human resource focus to development
and management practices needed in the self-renewing organization.
Connors provides detailed description of the categories of effectiveness, efficiency and
organizational environment. These detailed lists give the nonprofit manager a sense of what is
really important in each part of the excellence equation. For example to elaborate on the
effectiveness role, he provides a list of characteristics for self-renewing organizations in strategic
planning and customer focus and satisfaction. In the efficiency part of the excellence equation,
he gives the characteristics of public service providers and process management. The
evolutionary organizational environment part of the equation is more fully defined by providing
leadership and human resource development and management characteristics.
Implications for Extension Programs
Every county extension office is an organization that is either in a constantly regeneration cycle
or in a cycle of decline. It is especially important during this period of budget cuts and fiscal
hardships to see county extension as organizations that can benefit from a look at the self-
renewing organization equation and checklists provided. County managers start with some list
of criteria to see which programs will be saved and which will be cut. The checklists provided in
this chapter obviously are not the magic potion that will solve all fiscal problems but they do go
a long way to allowing organizations to do a good deal of self assessment and to be prepared
when assessment comes from other quarters.
The same view can be taken with organizations that we in extension work with on a daily basis.
Are they self-renewing and regenerating or are they in decline? It is easy to get lost in the details
of daily minutia and miss the trends and issues that signal change is happening that was not
brought about by the organization's leaders but by other external forces. Are we as extension
professionals equipped to work with the local organizations to help them adjust to change and to
benefit from it? This is a compelling question and it deserves a thoughtful response.
We, in extension, work in a layered organization and with multiple local and regional
organizations. Some give us satisfaction and some cause us grief and consternation. By looking
at our organizational environment, the efficiency of our organization and its effectiveness, we
can begin to see how we might make changes in the direction, albeit perhaps small, of our closest
organizational environment. Being aware of the self-renewing organization equation, we might
make a difference in our part of the large multilayered extension hierarchy that functions with a
mission, is customer focused and operates with a strategic plan as a guide. We as the human
resource part of the organizational environment can affect the other two components of the
equation, efficiency and effectiveness.
"Who Has Time to Cook?" How Family Resources Influence Food
Submitted by: Christine Brennan, BS, MPA, Assistant In, Family Nutrition Program
Mancino, L., Newman, C. 2007 Who Has Time To Cook? How Family
Resources Influence Food Preparation, ERR-40, Economic Research Service,
U.S. Department of Agriculture, May.
This study estimates how the amount of time an individual spends daily in preparing food
correlates with individual and household characteristics, specifically, income, wage rates, marital
status, employment status, employment status of other household adults, and the number of
children in a household. This research was undertaken to support proposed modifications to the
USDA's Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), a guide to show Food Stamp recipients how low cost healthy
meals can be purchased with Food Stamp benefits, to include some convenience and
commercially prepared foods. Recent estimates of the time required to prepare foods according
to current TFP recipes range from 80 minutes a day to 16 hours a week.
The researchers use 2003-04 data from the American Time Use Survey and multivariate analysis
to study how time allocated to food preparation differs between low-income and higher income
households, men and women, and individuals working full-time (more than 35 hours /week),
part-time (less than 35 hours/ week, but in the labor force), or those that are not employed. The
time spent in food preparation is defined as the total minutes in a day spent in the following four
Preparing food and drinks, which includes cooking and in any way getting food and drink
ready for consumption.
Serving food and drinks, which includes activities like setting the table.
Food and kitchen cleanup.
Storing or putting away food and drinks.
The researchers found a relationship between food preparation decisions and income,
employment status, gender, and family composition as follows:
Women spend more time preparing food than men do regardless of income and marital status.
Among women, time spent preparing food in the home decreases with higher household income
and more time working outside the home.
Single women spend less time preparing food than do married or partnered women whether they
are working or not.
Among low- and middle-income women, time spent preparing food does not decrease
significantly with higher wage rates.
Having more children who live in the household also increases the time a woman spends
Household time resources significantly affect the amount of time allocated to preparing food.
The researchers find that working full-time and being a single parent appear to affect the time
allocated to preparing food more than an individual's earnings or household income do.
The study concludes that low-income households with two adults or those headed by a single
parent who works less than 35 hours a week allocate enough time for food preparation. However,
low-income women who work full-time spend just over 40 minutes per day on food preparation
and may have difficulties meeting the 80 minutes per day meal preparation time requirement
implied by the Thrifty Food Plan. These conclusions may support revisions to the TFP to include
some healthful and nutritious convenience and commercially prepared foods.
Implications for Extension Programs
UF/IFAS Extension provides nutrition education to limited resource audiences via the Family
Nutrition Program and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. Regardless of
possible changes to the TFP, county extension faculty have both the expertise and the structure in
place to provide these families with education related to resource management, meal planning
and meal preparation. These efforts will assist them in optimizing their benefits from the Food
Stamp Program and other federal nutrition assistance programs in order to prepare low cost, easy
to prepare, nutritious meals for themselves and their families. Additionally, the results of this
study indicate that low income women who work full-time may benefit the most from these
Barrett, Allison. 2006. Characteristics ofFood Stamp Households: Fiscal Year 2005, FSP-06-
CHAR, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis,
Nutrition, and Evaluation.
Blisard, W.N., J.N. Variyam, and J. Cromartie. 2003. Food Expenditures by U.S. Households:
LookingAhead to 2020, AER-821, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Carlson, Andrea, Mark Lino, Shirley A. Gerrior, and P. Peter Basiotis. 2003. The Low-Cost,
Moderate-Cost and Liberal Food Plans: 2003 Administrative Report, CNPP-13, Center for
Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Harnack, L., M. Story, B. Martinson, D. Neumark-Sztainer, and J. Stang. 1998. "Guess Who's
Cooking? The Role of Men in Meal Planning, Shopping and Preparation in U.S. Families,"
Journal ofAmerican Dietetic Association 98(September):995-1000.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2006. "American Time Use Survey User's Guide:
Understanding ATUS 2003, 2004, and 2005," available at
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. 2000. Recipes and
Tips for Healthy, Thrifty Meals Centers for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, CNPP-11.
Zick, Cathleen D., Jane McCullough, and Ken R. Smith. 1996. "Trade-Offs Between Purchased
Services and Time in Single-Parent and Two-Parent Families," The Journal of Consumer Affairs
Community Participation in Rapidly Growing Communities
Submitted by: Mark Brennan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Community Development
Cascante-Matarrita, D., Luloff, A. E., Krannich, R., and Field, D.2006. "Community
Participation in Rapidly Growing Communities." Community Development: Journal of
the Community Development Society. 37(4): 71-87
Amenity-rich locations attract individuals searching for places to recreate, live, or retire. As a
result, such areas, many of which are in the Western United States, experience changes related to
population in-migration. Past research shows how the extensive in-migration of people with
different values and perspectives can contribute to social conflict in affected communities. This
study focuses on the relationship of community level indicators with community participation in
a five-county rapidly growing amenity-rich area in southern Utah. The research team studied two
main types of community members-seasonal and permanent residents. Differences among such
residents can contribute to shifts in community social interaction and affect overall participation
in community affairs. Because participation in community is a central aspect of fostering local
community development, it is important to understand how these processes occur. This study
found structural and interactional differences between permanent and seasonal residents. Both
factors were stronger predictors of community participation for permanent compared to seasonal
residents. This study adds to the literature on newcomers and long-term residents and their
structural and interactional differences.
Implications for Research and Extension
Within the context of rapidly growing, amenity-rich communities, the investigators examined
changes in levels of community participation between permanent and seasonal residents. Of
particular interest in this study were the ways in which structural and interactional differences
were associated with community participation.
Significant structural variables included annual household income, level of education, size of
community the respondent lived in the most before age 16, religious affiliation, and the number
of years lived in the community. Residents with higher incomes, more education, who had lived
mostly in small communities before age 16, had higher levels of community participation than
their counterparts. In addition, the longer the individual lived in the community, the more
participative the individual was.
Significant interactional variables found in this study included both community
attachment/organizational involvement and community satisfaction/social interaction dimensions
for permanent residents. Three dimensions of local organizational involvement were important
predictors of community participation. Level of involvement in local activities, number of local
organizations to which a respondent belonged, and hours participating in local activities are
significant factors associated with community participation. Moreover, these dimensions are the
strongest predictors of community participation. Residents who are more involved had more
interest in and attachment to their community. Increased levels of interaction in local activities
were associated with improved social bonds, which were, in turn, associated with increased
levels of community attachment.
This study helps us understand how differences in levels of community
attachment/organizational involvement and community satisfaction/social interaction,
sociodemographics, and length of residence differentially influence community participation by
permanent and seasonal residents. These factors can better predict permanent residents' levels of
participation. In contrast, seasonal residents' structural and interactional factors contributed less
in predicting community participation. Seasonal residents' structural and interactional
characteristics differed from those of permanent residents. These differences were reflected in
their levels of community participation. However, overall, the interactional variables contributed
more than the structural variables in predicting community participation for these two types of
Although growth may be inevitable, it does not have to affect a community's interaction and
participation negatively. Knowing the characteristics of seasonal and permanent active (and non-
active) residents can help reduce the negative impacts associated with growth. Such knowledge
would facilitate greater numbers of people becoming involved in local decision-making and, as a
result, broaden levels of community participation.
Teens and Deliberate Self-Harm: Findings from the Cutting Edge
A review of contemporary literature by Kate Fogarty
What is Self-Injuring Behavior?
Self-injury is viewed as a contemporary "teen disorder"1 due to its recent attention as it affects
anywhere from 2 to 10% of adolescents in the United States, Britain, and other parts of
Europe2,3'4. Self-injury (also known as non-suicidal self-injury/NSSI, cutting, deliberate self-
harm, and self-mutilation) involves causing intentional harm to oneself by bruising, cutting,
burning, scratching, banging, ripping or pulling skin or hair, ingesting toxic substances, and even
breaking bones2. These behaviors are usually brought on by teens' feelings of low self-worth,
stress, frustration in handling strong emotions, and anxiety2,. Youth workers and practitioners
find cutting to be the most prevalent type of self-injury5.
What Self-Injuring Behavior is NOT
Self-injury is different from more "culturally sanctioned"2 forms of self-decoration such as
tattooing and piercing (although extreme cases of self-decoration may be motivated by similar
emotional states and some consider tattooing and piercing to be a type of self-mutilation). It is
not the same as suicidal behavior2. Self-harmers are more prone to think about or attempt suicide,
but self-injuring behavior is not a sign of suicidal intent, rather a way to relieve stress or a
"highly functional alternative to suicide"2 (p. 409).
Why a "Teen" Disorder?
Twelve years old is the typical age at which self-harm begins3, with a peak age period between
16 and 25 years5. Self-harm seems to follow the same pattern as other problem behaviors in
adolescence: for example, starting in early adolescence, peaking in middle adolescence and
phasing out in early adulthood2. There is a second, more rare, pattern in which self-harm starts in
early childhood and continues through adulthood. Others classify self-harm into three patterns
of: episodic occurring one or several times; (2) repetitive occurring on a regular basis; and
(3) compulsive when a teen feels he or she is "unable to stop"6.
What Proportion of Teens Self-Injure?
To date, reliable estimates of self-harm prevalence in the U.S. are lacking2. Also, most cases of
teen self-injury are not easily detected by service professionals3. What we do know is that one-
fifth of clinical samples, 4% of the population at large, and 1.8% of 15-35 year-olds in the U.S.
engage in self-injuring behavior2'5. A large study in Britain found about 10% of 11- 25 year-olds
Why do teens injure themselves?
Teens who harm themselves have difficulty controlling their emotions, handling stress and
tension and self cutting behaviors are a means to deal with angry, anxious, and depressed
feelings5. Often their behavior is a way to deal with trauma experienced growing up5. Self-
harming teens are likely to experience bullying and have low self-esteem. They may have also
experienced abuse at home or parental divorce. Self-injuring is also linked with post-traumatic
stress disorder, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and borderline personality disorder2. In
their own view, teens who engage in non-suicidal self-injury most commonly do so to "get a
reaction from someone", "get control of a situation", and "stop bad feelings"7
A popular psychophysiological explanation of why some teens self-harm is that the pain of self-
injury causes the release of endorphins, thus producing a natural "high" for temporary relief from
emotional distress and frustration. This explanation, combined with an understanding of
adolescent brain development and teens' propensity to addiction, also lends to understanding
why they sometimes become addicted to self-harming behaviors5.
Intervening with Teens who Self-Injure
Although teens most commonly outgrow self-harming behaviors by adulthood3 may leave
limited physical scars, teens' self-harming behavior is a cry for help to alleviate the underlying
causes. When it comes to self-injury, professionals agree that prevention supersedes
Due to the secretive way in which some teens engage in self-injuring behaviors, open dialogue
between youth and adults (in families and in the community) is crucial. This could involve
examining for signs and asking teens about any signs witnessed in a non-accusatory tone (for
example, saying, "I noticed a razorblade on your nightstand. Could you tell me about that?"). We
know that less than 2% of teens in the U.S. self-harm. However, your teen may have a friend or
peer who self-harms. Also, "social contagion" has been found among adolescents who self-harm;
in other words, susceptible teens learn behaviors from their peers who self-harm2.
Signs that a teen may be engaging in self-injuring behaviors include8:
Razor blades, scissors, pins, lighters and other sharp objects present in room or on their
Unexplained frequent injuries
Acting isolated, withdrawn or bored
Low self-esteem and expressions of self-hatred
Difficulty handling feelings and emotions
Secretive, especially when asked about injuries
When dealing with teens that self-harm, it is preferable to take an assets-based perspective over a
pathological one Teens that self-harm are often ashamed of their behavior and fear being
labeled as psychopathic. Mental health and medical professionals are likely to label self-harming
teens' behavior as "attention seeking..., manipulative, or time wasting"3 (p. 14). Teens who self-
harm may feel guilty and concerned that the public would view them as dangerous and unfit to
volunteer or work in service professions3. However, the good news is in a study of teens who
self-harm and share about their struggles on Internet message boards, a majority was largely
positive about receiving psychological help2.
Ultimately, the goal of intervention is to help teens with self-harming behaviors to improve
interpersonal communication, handle interpersonal conflicts, and be better able to express
emotions. A multidisciplinary (support groups, family therapists, social workers, teachers,
counselors, psychologists etc.) and ecological (individual, family, school, community) approach
is most effective5. This may involve individual and family therapy. Ultimately help the youth by
improving his/her social environment.
Website: The site below, although from the United Kingdom, contains useful suggestions and
information, and reflects the recent attention (past 3 years) that the UK has given adolescent self-
harm, based on recent research findings which have affected children and educational policy.
National Children's Bureau, U.K. http://www.selfharm.org.uk/default.aspa
Video: The following video has been reviewed by scholars from the American Psychological
Association (APA) and is available from the APA for the cost of $99.95.
Lader, W. (2006). Self-Injury. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
Video Series, Specific Treatments for Specific Populations
Program/Intervention: This program has been around for 20 years and continues to be applied
today for treatment of adolescent self-harm.
S.A.F.E. Alternatives (Self-Abuse Finally Ends), founded by Karen, Conterio,
1. Welsh, P. (2004). Look students' scars point to emotional pain. USA Today, p. 1 la.
2. Whitlock, J.L., Powers, J.L., & Eckenrode, J. (2006). The virtual cutting edge: The
Internet and adolescent self-injury. Developmental Psychology, 42, 407-417.
3. McDougall, T., & Brophy, M. (2006). Truth hurts: Young people and self-harm. Mental
Health Practice, 9, 14-16.
4. Lundh, L.G., Karim, J., & Quilish, E. (2007). Deliberate self-harm in 15 year-old
adolescents: A pilot study with a modified version of the Deliberate Self-Harm Inventory.
5. Yip, K. (2006). A strengths perspective in working with an adolescent with self-cutting
behaviors. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 23, 134-146.
6. Best, R. (2006). Deliberate self-harm in adolescence: A challenge for schools. British
Journal of Guidance & Counseling, 34, 161-175.
7. Lloyd-Richardson, E.E., Perrine, N., Dierker, L., & Kelley, M.L. (2007). Characteristics
and functions of non-suicidal self-injury in a community sample of adolescents.
Psychological Medicine, 37, 1183-1192.
8. National Children's Bureau (2007). Warning signs of self-harm. Website accessed on
Sept. 4, 2007
Financial Education and Program Evaluation
Submitted by: Michael S. Gutter, PhD, Assistant Professor and Financial Management
Lyons, Angela; Palmer, Lance; Jayaratne, Koralalage S. U.; Scherpf, Erik. Are we
making the grade? A National Overview of Financial Education and Program
Evaluation. The Journal of Consumer Affairs 40, 2 (2006), http://www.blackwell-
synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j. 1745-6606.2006.00056.x (accessed September, 5,
With increasing attention being paid to the lack of financial savvy for many consumers, there has
been an increasing offering of financial literacy programs. However, one question that has not
been satisfactorily answered is whether these programs are effective. The lack of data measuring
impact can make it challenging to convince stakeholders that a program works as well as one
believes it does. This evidence can aid in a program being adopted by others since they can
document its effective. Funding agencies or partners may wish to see evaluation work in order to
document the return on their investment in a program. Programs that can document success are
likely to have an easier time obtaining resources.
The authors used focus groups and survey data to formulate their conclusions. The eight focus
groups were conducted via teleconference and involved educators and those actively involved in
financial literacy programming. Following up on the focus group results, a web-based survey
was sent out broadly to various email lists related to financial education to ask people about their
evaluation efforts. Again the target group was those engaging in financial education outreach.
The survey was not a random sample, but the results are still considered useful.
Overall, this article highlights the dearth of consistent evaluation used in financial education.
There are several issues mentioned.
First, for many educators, program evaluation is seen as a nice addition but often an afterthought.
When in fact as Hughes (1994) states, evaluation should be a component of program design. This
can then be rushed and may not connect well to the actual elements of the program.
Secondly, there is no standard for evaluation. Since this article, the National Endowment for
Financial Education has launched an evaluation website with hopes to improve consistency in
financial education program evaluation. Currently many educators only focus on counting bodies
or classes held. This type of formative evaluation may be helpful in determining if you are
reaching the desired audience. However, it does little to convey impact on people's lives.
However, one must measure to capture what a program should realistically accomplish.
Measuring for behavior change from 1 class may be overly ambitious.
Summative evaluation or impact evaluation is often more challenging to obtain data for and there
are insufficient standards for what things should be measured. One point of discussion was that
many while excellent educators did not have the right background to write a survey instrument or
to connect the appropriate types of outcomes to various programs. In addition many available
data sources lacked appropriate measures. Lack of resources including time is one reason that
follow-up surveys while potentially a sound approach were not employed. In addition small
numbers from which to pool a sample and low response rates make it a challenge for some, even
with resources. Participants may have good intentions in consenting to evaluations, but may not
provide all of the information, especially things that might be private to them (e.g. income).
Finally, the lack of a control group in most instances leaves selection bias in the sample; they are
all people who attended the program.
Implications for Extension Programs
Building evaluation into program design
In planning a program, one should focus initially on what objectives one is trying to reach. In
using these as guide, one can then plan program elements that speak to these objectives. Forming
these in advance also allows you to communicate more effectively with stakeholders and funding
agencies. Program leadership should help to increase awareness of need, techniques, and
resources in conducting evaluation work.
Building Evaluation into budgets
Evaluation often requires data gathering. In some instances aggregate data may already exist in
various forms. However, often evaluation does require some data gathering from participants,
especially for summative evaluation.
What outcomes are reasonable for a program?
Short duration programs that may only meet for a few hours are unlikely to change participant's
behavior. It may be more meaningful to consider things such as intentions, attitudes, and beliefs
as measures of the success of a class. Programs that go on for longer or have coaching elements
may be better candidates for evidence of behavior change.
Financial education has become an increasingly important aspect of the outreach work that is
done in Extension. In addition, there are many resources available, both in terms of program
materials and funding. It is important that one consider the goals of a program in developing it,
as well as how to measure the successful achievement of those goals. This will lead to capturing
more success stories and showing how Extension can truly transform people's lives.
1. Fox, Jonathan, Suzanne Bartholomae, & Lee, Jinkook. (2005). Building the case for financial
education. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 39 (1): 195-214.
2. Hughes, Robert. (1994). A framework for developing family life education programs. Family
Relations, 43(1), 74-80.
Health Benefits for Volunteering
Submitted by: Joy Jordan, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Youth Development
Source: Grimm, R., Spring, K and Dietz, N, (2007) The Health Benefits of Volunteering:
A Review of Recent Research, The Office of Research and Policy Development
Corporation for National and Community Service. www.nationalservice.org
Recruiting and working with volunteers in Extension is always an excellent means to extend our
community outreach. The 4-H and Horticulture programs thrive on the use of volunteers. A
recent report of research findings focused on the health benefits of volunteering shares the
following findings. The full report can be found at www.nationalservice.gov. The number of
volunteers 65 and over is expected to increase 50 percent over the next 13 years, according to
numbers projected by the US Census data, and continue for several years to follow for these
"baby boomers." These suggested benefits, especially targeting older volunteers, might be useful
in your next recruitment presentation or newsletter.
Older Volunteers are more likely to gain health benefits.
Volunteers, 60 and over, gain greater health benefits, such as improved physical and mental
health. Researchers have found there is a "volunteer threshold" for the relationships between
frequency of volunteering and the health benefits. However, across the studies, the definition of
this amount of volunteering that is has generated benefits has varied between: 1) volunteering
with two or more organizations; 2) 100 hours or more of volunteer activity annually; or 3) at
least 40 hours of volunteering.
Volunteering leads to greater life satisfaction and lower rates of depression.
Findings from several studies provide evidence that volunteering has a positive effect on the
social psychological factors, such as sense of purpose and accomplishment and enhances one's
social support systems buffering stress and thus reducing disease risk. One reported study by
Musick and Wilson(2005) revealed the depression in older adults was less for those who served
Individuals who volunteer live longer.
Researcher has found in analyses of longitudinal data, those individuals who volunteer during
earlier years of study have lower mortality rates at the second wave of study, even when factors
of physical health, age, gender or socioeconomic status is taken into control. Also, several
studies reported that those with chronic illnesses benefit.
State volunteer rate is strongly connected with the physical health of the states' population.
The report, using data from U.S. Census Bureau and the Center for Disease Control, provided
findings that states with a high volunteer rate also have lower rates of mortality and incidences of
heart disease 9age-adjusted). Florida has one of the lowest reported rates (less than 20%) for
Pesticide Use in Homes and Children's Health
Submitted by: Hyun-Jeong Lee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor/Housing Specialist
Sailer, J., Reyes, P., Maldonado, P. A., Gibbs, S. G., and Byrd, T. L. March 2007.
"Children's Exposure to Pesticides Used in Homes and Farms." Journal of Environmental
Health 69 (7): 27-31.
Many households have pest problems inside and outside their homes. Pests like cockroaches,
flies, rats, mice, fleas, spiders can bring allergies and various diseases into the households (U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 2006). Pesticides are designed to
prevent and kill the pests. If the pesticides are not properly used or stored, however, they can be
very dangerous to human health (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2002).
Pesticides contain chemicals to kill the pests and these chemicals also can harm people.
Based on data collected from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, EPA (2004)
indicates that approximately 71,000 U.S. children were exposed to or poisoned by common
household pesticides in 2004. Residents can be poisoned by the hazardous household chemicals
including household pesticides not only by eating or drinking the chemical products but also by
touching or breathing even a very small amount of them. Symptoms of exposures to the
hazardous chemicals can be minor and temporary, such as dizziness, nausea, and itchy skin.
However, they also can cause long-term cancer or lung damage, and neurological, developmental
and reproductive disorders which may not be discovered for a long time after the exposures
(EPA, 2002; HUD, 2006).
This study by Saller, Maldonado, Gibbs, and Byrd (2007) aimed to explore behaviors, attitudes
and beliefs about in-home pesticide use and source of health-related information among
households in three communities in the Lower Valley of El Paso County, Texas. Especially, the
researchers were interested in any possible use of methyl parathion whose use is legally
prohibited. Methyl parathion is a pesticide highly toxic to humans and birds (EPA, 1997).
Methyl parathion is only allowed to be used on certain open agricultural field and it is legally
prohibited to use methyl parathion inside buildings (EPA, 1997). Based on a report by the Texas
Department of Health (TDH), however, the researchers indicated that 25% of the residents in the
study region were illegally using methyl parathion and considered as a major pesticide threats in
The researchers trained bilingual interviewers and the interviewers conducted door-to-door
questionnaire surveys to 150 randomly sampled households in Socorro, Sam Elizario, and
Febens in the Lower Valley of El Paso County, TX. The Researchers reported that majority of
the respondents were Hispanic (97%) and 71% of the surveys were conducted in Spanish for the
Pesticide Use and Perception of Pesticide Safety
About 89% of the respondents indicated that they used some type of pesticides. The most
commonly used brand of pesticide was Raid (74%) followed by Combat (23%). Many of the
respondents also reported use of pesticides at their neighborhood farms. But it was found that the
respondents were seldom notified of the pesticide use. In terms of methyl parathion, only a few
respondents reported that they used any methyl parathion indoors or outdoors, which was quite
different for the findings of the TDH. However, the researchers assumed that the actual number
of households that used methyl parathion might be greater than reported. The researchers
believed that the respondents knew that the use of methyl parathion was illegal and the
respondents might have given socially-desirable answers rather than honest answers.
Majority of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed to the seriousness of illness caused by
pesticides (94%) and to the negative impacts of the pesticide use on children's health (88%).
However, 62% reported that they believed in the safety of pesticides that could be bought for in-
home use. Respondents who used pesticides and who did not showed difference in perceptions
and attitudes about the pesticide use. Compared to households who did not use pesticides,
households who used pesticides showed less sensitiveness to the pesticide safety concerns and
reported most people around them used pesticides.
Source and Confidence of Health Information
Most of the respondents reported that they have seldom received information regarding health
issues from any mass-media, government health agencies or university education sources. Forty-
five percent of the respondents showed trusts toward information from the Texas Department
Health followed by television and the city/county health departments.
Implications for Extension Programs
Households in the U.S. use more than a billion pounds of pesticides indoors and outdoors every
year (EPA, 2002). Approximately 47% of households with children under the age of five and
75% of households without children under the age of five have one or more pesticides stored in
unlocked cabinets which young children can easily reach (EPA, 2004; HUD, 2006).
The overall findings from Saller et al.'s study indicated some contradiction, between what people
are aware should be done and what they actually do as far as pesticide use. Even though majority
of the survey respondents reported their awareness of the health impact of pesticide use, the
majority of the respondents used pesticides in their homes.
Thus, outreach education activities need to focus not only on increasing knowledge of the
dangerous health impacts of the pesticides and of proper use of the pesticides but also on
changing actual behaviors of the households especially those with young children. As also
suggested by Saller et al. (2007), the information should be distributed through the channels that
residents in the area trust to increase the educational impacts.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2006). Help yourself to a healthy home: Protect
your children's health. Washington D.C.: Author.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (1997). Illegal indoor use of methyl parathion. Retrieved August
29, 2007, from http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/chemicals/methyl.htm#3
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2002). Protectig children from pesticides. Retrieved August 29,
2007, from http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/kidpesticide.htm
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2004). Pesticides and child safety. Retrieved on August
29, 2007, from http://www.epa. gov/pesticides/factsheets/childsafhtm
When it comes to keeping hands clean, which type of cleansers
should you buy for your family?
Submitted by: Amarat Simonne, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Food Safety and Quality
With continued media attention and other educational campaigns on the subject, hand washing is
definitely on people's minds these days. But when it comes to choosing the right soap or hand
cleansers for your family, deciding which method to use, and knowing how often to wash hands,
there is still confusion among consumers.
In a recent study, which appeared in Food Protection Trends (1), the authors examined consumer
attitudes and the effectiveness of hand cleansers in the home. They conducted two separate
experiments. First, they assessed consumers' attitudes and behaviors regarding hand cleansers
through both telephone and paper surveys. The phone survey was done using phone numbers
from local Colorado phone books and the paper survey was done using students who were
enrolled in college food preparation classes. Overall, 72% of consumers surveyed for this study
said they used a liquid hand cleanser in their homes. Sixty-four of them used soap containing
antimicrobial ingredients, while 26% did not know what type of ingredients their home hand
cleanser contained. In both surveys, consumers said that price and ability to remove bacteria
were equally important. Sixty-one percent of consumers said that antibacterial soaps are much
better than other hand cleansers, but in reality, they may not realize that regular soap can do the
same thing (1).
In the second experiment, the researchers conducted a hand washing experiment using six
laboratories of 15 students each, for a total of 90 participants. The students were divided into
three groups and were assigned one of three cleansers: regular liquid hand soap (Ivory brand,
Procter and Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH), antibacterial soap containing -2% triclosan as well as
other soap ingredients (Softsoap brand, Colgate Palmolive Co., New York, NY), or alcohol gel
containing 62% ethyl alcohol and other ingredients (Purell brand, GoJo Industries, Inc. Akron,
OH). They were given specific standardized instructions to touch an agar plate before washing
their hands or rubbing alcohol on their hands. Then they followed prescribed hand-washing
procedures, either rubbing their hands with either kind of soap for 20 seconds, then rinsing under
warm tap water (35C 370 C) for 10 seconds more, or using the specified amount of hand
sanitizer. After following these hand-cleansing procedures, they touched their hands to an agar
plate again. The agar plates were then incubated for 48 hours at 350C and rated for their relative
colony numbers (RCN). Given the same levels of pre-treatment hand contamination, the study
found no significant differences between regular and antimicrobial hand cleansers in reducing
RCN. However, the alcohol gel reduced RCN values significantly more than regular and
antimicrobial hand cleansers (1).
Take home message:
This study revealed that consumers often think that antibacterial soap is the best choice for
removing germs from their hands, but they may not know that regular soap can do the same job.
The majority of antibacterial hand-washing products contain triclosan. Because some research
has revealed that triclosan and its derivatives accumulate in the environment, the use of strong
antimicrobials such as triclosan for everyday purposes may be questionable. More research is
needed on the impact of these persistent chemicals (1).
This study revealed that alcohol gel hand sanitizers are a quick and easy way to reduce germs on
hands. However, if your hands are soiled with dirt and debris, hand-washing for 20 seconds with
regular soap, followed by the application of alcohol gel, may help prevent the transmission of
bacterial and viral infections (1).
It is important for consumers to evaluate the situation when it comes to washing to their hands
(2). If your hands are visibly dirty, it is necessary to wash them for 20 seconds with regular soap
and water. If your hands are not visibly dirty, if you do not have enough time, or if there is no
clean water available, you can use alcohol gel to clean your hands (2).
Cautions: Most alcohol gels contain 60-90% alcohol. If these products are being used in your
household, parents or caretakers need to keep these hand sanitizers well out of reach of small
children at all times. Ingestion of alcohol gel sanitizer by young children could cause alcohol
1. Brown, J.M., J.S. Avens, P.A. Kandall, D.R. Hyatt, and M. B. Stone. 2007. Survey of
consumer attitudes and the effectiveness of hand cleansers in the home. Food Protection Trends.
2. Simonne, A. Hand Hygiene and Hand Sanitizers. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FY732
Associations between media viewing and language development
in children under age 2 years
Submitted by: Suzanna Smith, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof, Family Life
Zimmerman, F.J., Christakis, D. A., & Meltzoff, A.N. (2007). "Associations
between media viewing and language development in children under age 2 years."
The Journal of Pediatrics, Article in Press. Accessed September 12, 2007 from
University of Florida library databases.
Parents and their preschoolers may be fans of the popular TV shows, Blue 's Clues, Barney, and
Sesame Street. These time-honored productions have been carefully studied for their impacts on
children, and researchers have consistently found that they do have educational value for
children ages 21/2 to 5 years. These days, more and more TV and DVD/video programming is
aimed atyounger children, even though heavy TV viewing in the under-3 set has been associated
with attention problems, and impaired reading and math skills. In light of these findings, the
American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended no screen time for children under the age of
2 (see http://www.aap.org/pubed/ZZZGVL4PQ7C.htm?&sub_cat= 17). At the same time, many
infant videos claim that they will teach children about language, logic, and other skills...what is
a parent to believe?
There is very little research specifically addressing the impacts of new media on very young
children. A recent article appearing in the Journal of Pediatrics tested the connection between
media exposure and language development in children under age 2.
More than 1000 parents of children ages 2 to 24 months were surveyed by telephone. Several
questions were asked about children's time spent interacting with adults, what types of TV or
DVD/videos their child, and the amount of viewing by typical weekday or weekend. Parents
completed a standard form of the Communicative Development Inventory (CDI). The study also
tracked parental interaction with their children in three areas, "reading, storytelling and music"
(p. 2). The research evaluated the associations between media exposure and CDI scores using
multiple regression, taking into account parent-child interactions and demographics.
On average, infants age 8 to 16 months were watching educational TV shows about 30 minutes a
day, 15 minutes viewing baby DVDs/videos and about another 30 minutes on non-educational
and grownup TV. Toddlers ages 17 to 24 months watched 70 minutes of children's educational
TV, 16 minutes of baby DVDs/videos, and nearly an hour of non-educational and adult TV.
For infants 8 to 16 months, every hour per day of viewing baby DVDs/videos significantly
lowered the CDI score by nearly 17 points. This was a large effect. There was no association
between baby videos/DVDs and language development for toddlers, 17-24 months.
Reading once a day was associated with significant increases in the CDI score by about 7 points
for babies and 12 points for toddlers; telling stories was associated with higher language scores
in the older children.
According to the authors, there are several possible reasons for this connection between baby
DVDs/videos. First, parents whose children are having difficulty with language may use these
media to help their children, believing that videos can help their young children with language
development. Second, parents who are distracted or pressed for time may rely on DVDs/videos
to keep their children occupied and can't accurately report their language development.
A third possibility is that "heavy viewing of baby DVDs/videos" has a negative impact on early
language development (p. 4). Possibly, videos take away time from interacting with adults,
especially adults talking to infants. Baby videos "may contain limited language" and images that
"do not promote vocabulary learning or... actually impede it" (p. 4). For example, baby
DVDs/videos "have little dialogue, short scenes, disconnected images" (p. 4), and other images
that are difficult to describe.
Although there were several limitations to this study, it did find significant associations between
baby DVD/video viewing and one measure of development.
Implications for Extension Programs
Media is a prevalent part of U.S. family life, and media education can help parents choose and
use media in ways that promote learning and healthy development. Extension faculty can
encourage parents to read to their babies and toddlers every day and to talk to them frequently.
These parent or caregiver interactions are vital not only to language and cognitive development,
but to a baby's social and emotional development as well. In keeping with experts'
recommendations and the results of this article, parents could forego baby DVDs/videos, at the
very least for children younger than 16 months. In addition, county faculty may want to attend
in-service training on children and media, if offered, in spring 2008.
Parents who use baby DVDs/videos often choose them because they believe they will benefit
their children's brain development and education. This study found that more media use of this
type was associated with lower scores on language development in infants ages 8 to 16 months.
More research is needed to evaluate the risks and benefits of baby DVDs/videos and explain why
they were associated with lower language scores. In the meantime, parents of infants could put
aside these media in favor of more parent-child interaction.
American Academy of Pediatrics. Media guidelines for parents. Retrieved September 12, 2007
from http://www.aap.org/pubed/ZZZGVL4PQ7C.htm?&sub cat=17
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Public Education. (1999). Media education.
Pediatrics, 104(2), 341-343. Retrieved September 12, 2007 from
Ebata, A. (2005). Media and Children: Choosing TV Programs, Movies, Videos, & DVDs.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved September 12, 2007 from
Kaiser Family Foundation. (2005). A teacher in the living room? Educational media for babies,
toddlers and preschoolers. Retreived September 12, 2007 from
PBS (2002-2007). TV and kids under 3. Retrieved September 12, 2007 from
PBS. (2002-2007).TV and movies: Preschoolers. Retrieved September 12, 2007 from
Supermarket Trends and the Consumer
Article reviewed by: Glenda L. Warren, MS, RD, CFCS, Associate Professor, Extension
Nutritionist, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.
Aase S. Supermarket Trends: How Increased Demand for Healthful Products and
Services Will Affect Food and Nutrition Professionals. Practice Applications Beyond the
Headlines. J Am Diet Assoc. 2007;107: 1286-1288.
How will the consumer be affected by the current supermarket trends?
The author has reviewed supermarket trends in two studies from the Food Marketing Institute
(FMI), a national trade association for supermarkets. Knowledge of the trends discussed in her
review will be helpful for those working with consumers to prepare them to effectively navigate
through the many products that may be available. Michael Sansolo, a senior vice president at the
FMI was credited with this statement: "The average supermarket might carry as many as 45,000
What do consumers expect from supermarkets? How are supermarkets
(and manufacturers) responding? What are consumers buying?
more health related support (disease prevention education)
more support for healthy meals (healthier options for ready to eat or easy to prepare
healthier products--less sodium, more whole grains, and more fruit and vegetables
convenience (quick and easy)
The convenience in the produce department includes precut and packaged produce. Interest in
portion control is shown in the popularity of the 100 calorie portion items. More organic foods
are being purchased and so are more ethnic foods. Exotic items are also gaining in popularity.
Stores may provide more food demonstrations, recipes, and directions for meals. Expect the
future to bring more technology in supermarkets.
Note that some stores and brands are creating their own labeling systems and symbols.
The nutrition facts panel of the food label is still an important tool for providing important
Implications for Extension
Implications for Extension are evidenced in all of the trends. Supermarket trends are a reflection
of the needs and interests of the consumers.
Even though nutrition education may not be the highest priority of supermarket shoppers, it is a
priority and nutrition education can be piggy-backed along with their interests.