This Valentine’s Day, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is recognizing the research supporting families and relationships conducted by our Land-grant University partners.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death in the United States and also excessively affects rural communities. Specifically, rural women have CVD rates compared to their nonrural counterparts. This may be due to their social and environmental settings. Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station’s Strong Hearts, Healthy- a National Institute of Health-funded heart disease prevention and intervention study- targets rural midlife and older women. It provides significant insight on the complex factors contributing to this disease. Overall, the intervention study participants experienced positive changes across biometric, physical activity and diet, improving their body mass index, weight, waist circumference and body fat percentage, as compared to control participants. Learn more on the project here.
Synchronizing Heart Rates
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences researchers found when long-term partners are close to each other, their heart rates synchronize in complex patterns of interaction. The study included 10 heterosexual, married couples, ages 64 to 88, who had been in their relationships from 14 to 65 years. The researchers followed the couples for two weeks, continuously tracking their heart rates and their proximity to each other when at home. Read more about the study here.
Supporting Children in Kinship Care
From the 2019 United States Census, West Virginia ranked second in the nation for grandparents raising their grandchildren. West Virginia University Extension Service created the Healthy Grandfamilies Program to provide social, emotional, and academic support to both the grandchild and grandparents. Learn more about the program here.
Purdue University Extension's Strengthening Families Program aims to strengthening the relationship between children ages 10-14 and their parents. This age cohort is subject to social and emotional changes, greater academic challenges, and biological changes. The program is an evidence-based parent, youth and family skills-building curriculum that prevents teen substance abuse and other behavior problems, strengthens parent/youth communication skills, increases academic success in youth, and prevents violence and aggressive behavior at home and at school. More information can be found here.