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Background:
Obesity is a serious public health concern in the United States as rates of obesity have reached epidemic proportions. In Mississippi, a state that consistently has some of the highest rates of child and adult obesity and associated health problems (diabetes and hypertension), efforts to prevent obesity are critical. In addition, those efforts should begin early by introducing young children to healthy foods and lifestyles at a very early age and reinforcing those messages across the lifespan.

Purpose:
The purpose of the project is to promote healthy lifestyles by educating young children (pre-K andPortrait of Happy Family In Park Kindergarten), their parents, teachers, and community members on topics related to obesity and active lifestyles (e.g., healthy foods, healthy lifestyles, and associated diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease).

Project Team / Partnerships:
The project team includes researchers representing various disciplines at Mississippi State University (e.g., social sciences, nutrition, human sciences, and communication), personnel at HealthWorks! North Mississippi, a children’s health education center in Tupelo, MS, and health/medical consultants.

Target Audience:
Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children, teachers, parents and community members in 20 counties in North Mississippi

Project Format/Outputs:
A variety of educational materials and programs are being developed, including the following:
Teacher curriculum and instructional materials
• Hands-on exhibits and a field trip program at HealthWorks! North MS
Family activities to support what is being learned in the classroom and on the field trip
Community awareness/media activities such as public service announcements, a social media site, and print media.

Funding:
The Partnerships to Promote Healthy Lifestyles for Children and Communities project is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25OD011162. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.