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University of Mississippi

Informing Physical Activity Policies in Rural Mississippi

A Profile of Abigail Gamble, Ph.D., Active Living Research Investigator

Abigail Gamble of Manahawkin, N.J., completed her doctoral degree in Health Behavior from the University of Mississippi in May 2011. Dr Gamble was recently profiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The context.�Mississippi has consistently ranked near the top of the list of states with the highest rates of children who are overweight or obese, according to both the National Survey of Children's Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

In 2007, the Mississippi Legislature passed the�Mississippi Healthy Students Act�in an attempt to reverse this trend. The act mandates 150 minutes per week of health education instruction and 150 minutes per week of activity-based instruction for students in grades K�8; and the equivalent of one-half credit of health education and one-half credit of physical education for students in grades 9�12.

Many considered the�Healthy Students Act�a significant step forward. But, questions remain: Are Mississippi schools, especially those in the poor, rural northwest section of the state known as the Mississippi Delta complying with the law? What are the obesity levels among adolescents in the Delta? How does the built environment of schools in that impoverished area affect the weight of children?

Abigail Gamble, who received her doctorate from the University of Mississippi in May 2011, wanted to learn the answers.

Read the complete profile at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.