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R Brawer, Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA


The obesity epidemic is a major problem of developed countries. Children who are obese are more likely to experience negative health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and stroke. In 2016, 25% of children ages 0-3 in Maternity Care Coalition’s (MCC) Early Head Start program in South Philadelphia were considered overweight or obese. Nationally, 12.3% of children ages 0-3 are overweight or obese. Almost 40% of Households with Children in South Philadelphia receive SNAP and more than 1 in 5 receive WIC. In the last two years, over 60 grocery stores have closed in Philadelphia, including the one serving the MCC Early Head Start community. In addition, the area near MCC’s Early Head Start has high poverty and low or no access to healthy food The purpose of this capstone was to conduct a formative assessment to inform the design of a pilot program to increase access to healthy, affordable food for MCC’s Early Head Start community in South Philadelphia. A grounded theory approach with thematic analysis was employed to determine the strengths and weaknesses of potential food buying club resources, as well as to assess interest in and preferences for a potential food-buying club at the MCC Early Head Start site. The formative evaluation included a literature review, telephone interviews with individuals familiar with food buying club resources and programs, discussions at MCCs advisory committee meetings, and a meeting at the Early Head Start with parents that used CBPR methodology. Thematic analysis of the community’s participatory responses showed the community to be interested in initiating SHARE’s food buying program. There is limited evidence available with respect to early childhood obesity prevention, and no “best practices” have been identified. By bringing a food-buying club to the Early Head Start community, the Maternity Care Coalition is working to combat food insecurity and prevent obesity among our youngest children using the best evidence available.

Presentation: 22:48