OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of public health and human sciences

No more “empty nest”: middle-aged adults face pressure on both sides

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The “empty nest” of past generations, in which the kids are grown up and middle-aged adults have more time to themselves, has been replaced in the United States by a nest that’s full – kids who can’t leave, can’t find a job and aging parents who need more help than ever before.

According to a new study by researchers at Oregon State University, what was once a life stage of new freedoms, options and opportunities has largely disappeared.

An economic recession and tough job market has made it hard on young adults to start their careers and families. At the same time, many older people are living longer, which adds new and unanticipated needs that their children often must step up to assist with.

The end result, researchers suggest, are “empty nest” plans that often have to be put on hold, and a mixed bag of emotions, ranging from joy and “happy-to-help” to uncertainty, frustration and exhaustion.

“We mostly found very positive feelings about adults helping their children in the emerging adulthood stage of life, from around ages 18 to 30,” said Karen Hooker, director of the OSU Center for Healthy Aging Research.

“Feelings about helping parents weren’t so much negative as just filled with more angst and uncertainty,” Hooker said. “As a society we still don’t socialize people to expect to be taking on a parent-caring role, even though most of us will at some point in our lives. The average middle-aged couple has more parents than children.”

The findings of this research were just published in the Journal of Aging Studies, and were based on data from six focus groups during 2009-10. It was one of the first studies of its type to look at how middle-aged adults actually feel about these changing trends.

Various social, economic, and cultural forces have combined to radically challenge the traditional concept of an empty nest, the scientists said. The recession that began in 2008 yielded record unemployment, substantial stock market losses, lower home values and increased demand for higher levels of education.

Around the same time, advances in health care and life expectancy have made it possible for many adults to live far longer than they used to – although not always in good health, and often needing extensive care or assistance.

This study concluded that most middle-aged parents with young adult children are fairly happy to help them out, and they understand that getting started in life is simply more difficult now. Some research has suggested that age 25 is the new 22; that substantially more parents now don’t even expect their kids to be financially independent in their early 20s, and don’t mind helping them through some difficult times.

But the response to helping adult parents who, at the same time, need increasing amounts of assistance is not as uniformly positive, the study found – it can be seen as both a joy and a burden, and in any case was not something most middle-aged adults anticipated.

“With the kids, it’s easy,” is a general purpose reaction. With aging parents, it isn’t.

“My grandparents died younger, so my parents didn’t cope with another generation,” one study participant said.

Many middle-aged people said it was difficult to make any plans, due to disruptions and uncertainty about a parent’s health at any point in time. And most said they we’re willing to help their aging parents, but a sense of being time-starved was a frequent theme.

“It brings my heart joy to be able to provide for my mom this way,” one study participant said. “There are times when it’s a burden and I feel resentful.”

The dual demands of children still transitioning to independence, and aging parents who need increasing amounts of care is causing many of the study participants to re-evaluate their own lives. Some say they want to make better plans for their future so they don’t pose such a burden to their children, and begin researching long-term care insurance. Soul-searching is apparent.

“I don’t care if I get old,” a participant said. “I just don’t want to become debilitated. So I would rather have a shorter life and a healthy life than a long life like my mom, where she doesn’t have a life. She doesn’t have memories. Our memories are what make us who we are.”

An increasing awareness of the challenges produced by these new life stages may cause more individuals to anticipate their own needs, make more concrete plans for the future, reduce ambivalent approaches and have more conversations with families about their own late-life care, the researchers said in their study.

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The study this story is based on is available in ScholarsArchive@OSU: http://bit.ly/10PslLB

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Karen Hooker, 541-737-4336

First study of Oregon’s Hmong reveals surprising influences on cancer screenings

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Cervical cancer rates for Hmong women are among the highest in the nation, yet past research has shown that cervical and breast cancer screening rates for this population are low – in part because of the Hmong’s strong patriarchal culture.

However, a new study by Oregon State University researchers examining attitudes regarding breast and cervical cancer screening among Oregon’s Hmong population shows a much more complicated picture. The study found that Hmong women often make their own health decisions, but in an environment in which screening is not discussed.

The study, recently published online in Health Education Research, is the first to look at the role of Hmong patriarchal and family influences on women’s breast and cervical cancer screening. It is also one of the only studies conducted with Oregon’s Hmong population.

Lead author Sheryl Thorburn, a professor of public health at Oregon State University, conducted the study with Jennifer Kue, a Portland native and member of the Hmong community. Kue is now an assistant professor at the Ohio State University.

According to the researchers, about 3,600 Hmong live in Oregon, with the majority centered in the Portland metro area. They interviewed more than 80 Hmong people in Portland and Salem - not only women ages 18 years and older, but also men, including husbands and male leaders in the community.

In the study, the majority of women and men reported that women make health decisions independently, and that, in general, breast and cervical cancer screening was not discussed in the household.

“What we are seeing from our study is that the Hmong culture is evolving,” Kue said. “It may not be the same for Hmong women everywhere. This is one piece of the puzzle.”

The Hmong first came to the United States in the 1970s as refugees from Southeast Asia. They played a central role in supporting the U.S. during the Vietnam conflict, and hundreds of thousands of Hmong were relocated to the United States.

Previous research suggests that strong patriarchal influence as well as suspicion of Western medicine could be barriers to cancer screening among women, and that men may make the decisions about critical medical conditions of Hmong women. However, those earlier studies did not survey both men and women about family influences on cancer screening.

Kue, who conducted the research while doing her doctoral studies at OSU, said she was surprised at the amount of autonomy reported by both male and female respondents. There also seemed to be greater use of health services among the Oregon Hmong interviewed.

For instance, 75 percent of women in the study had a clinical breast examination at least once; 79 percent of women 40 and older had received a mammogram at some point in their lives; and 84 percent of women had gone to the doctor for a Pap smear. In comparison, the few national studies conducted of Hmong women show low rates of breast and cervical cancer screening, ranging from 27 to 74 percent.

However, Kue said these results do not mean that health barriers do not exist.

“It is not enough to have been screened once because we want women to get screened regularly,” Kue said. “There have been so few studies done of the Hmong that it can be difficult to draw conclusions. What we do know is that this is a population at high risk.”

Still, the researchers said they were surprised that so few people reported that husbands or other male family members were influencing decisions. What their study did show was that overall, most women did not talk about their health with their husband or family members, and kept screening decisions private.

“In our culture, we place a heavy emphasis on communal decision-making and it’s male-dominant, so I would have expected men to have more influence,” Kue said.

Thorburn said this qualitative study helps researchers who follow up to shape their research.

“Without this exploratory study, people might have gone in with a lot of assumptions that may not be correct about the culture,” Thorburn said. “It gives us a completely different picture and tells us this is more complicated. It’s not men deciding whether or not women get screened because women of all ages said they have control and make the decisions about their health.”

The research was conducted with the help of a Community Advisory Committee, made up of nine Hmong community members and leaders. This key principle of community-based research was one of the ways the researchers were able to get buy-in from the closely-knit Hmong people.

Karen Levy Keon, formerly with Oregon State University and Ann Zukoski with Rainbow Research contributed to this research study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

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Sheryl Thorburn, 541-737-9493

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(Left to right) Karen Levy Keon, Patela Lo, Jennifer Kue, and Sheryl Thorburn are the research team who conducted the first study of Oregon's Hmong population in regard to their attitudes on cancer screening. Jan. 2013. (Photo: OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences)

Physical education requirement at four-year universities at all-time low

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Even as policy makers and health experts point to an increased need for exercise, more than half of four-year colleges and universities in the United States have dropped physical education requirements compared to historic levels.

Almost every U.S. college student was required to take physical education and exercise requirements in the 1920s; today, that number is at an all-time low of 39 percent, according to a new study.

Oregon State University researcher Brad Cardinal, lead author of the study, examined data from 354 randomly selected four-year universities and colleges going back to 1920, a peak year with 97 percent of students required to take physical education. The results are in the current issue of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.

“We see more and more evidence about the benefit of physical activity, not just to our bodies, but to our minds, yet educational institutions are not embracing their own research,” Cardinal said. “It is alarming to see four-year institutions following the path that K-12 schools have already gone down, eliminating exercise as part of the curriculum even as obesity rates climb.”

More than 34 percent of adolescents and teens ages 12-19 are overweight and more than 17 percent are obese. These rates have roughly doubled since 1980, according to the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report.

Cardinal, who is a professor of exercise and sport science at OSU and a national expert on the benefits of physical activity, said research shows that exercise not only improves human health, but it also improves cognitive performance.

“Brain scans have shown that physical activity improves the area of the brain involved with high-level decision making,” he said. “In addition, we know employers often are concerned about employee health, in part because physically active employees attend work more and tend to perform better.”

Cardinal’s own university, Oregon State University, still requires physical education courses. He said requiring physical education sets the tone for students to understand that being active and healthy is as important as reading, writing and math. Cardinal believes even requiring just one or two exercise courses can at least jump-start a student into thinking about a healthy lifestyle as part of their overall college experience and later life.

“There is a remarkable disconnect in that we fund research as a nation showing that physical activity is absolutely critical to academic and life success, but we aren’t applying that knowledge to our own students,” he said.

While no research has conclusively shown why this downward trend is happening at universities, Cardinal said it is likely a result of shrinking budgets and an increased focus on purely academic courses, similar to what has happened at public elementary, middle, and high schools.

However, he noted that the median physical education budget for schools in the United States is only $764 per school year in K-12 and 61 percent of physical education teachers report an annual budget of less than $1,000. Yet, obesity will cost the United States $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018, about 21 percent of the nation’s health-care spending.

While many universities offer recreation classes and fitness centers, Cardinal said, those facilities are often intimidating for first-year, international, and low-fitness or skill-level students. He said studies have shown that campus exercise facilities are often utilized by the healthiest population of the student body.

“The very people who want to work out, and likely would find a way to do so no matter what, are often the most frequent visitors to gyms and fitness centers,” Cardinal said. “A public university should provide a way for people who may be intimidated by state-of-the-art facilities, or may be unfamiliar with even the basic concept of working out, a way to learn about basic health and physical activity.”

He added that it may be up to researchers and experts in his own discipline of exercise science to turn the tide at universities, and bring the research into a policy arena.

“As health educators and exercise scientists, we need to get serious about our roles in advocating for and using research to bring physical education back to college campuses,” Cardinal said. “College isn’t too late to start influencing students and getting them on a healthy trajectory.”

Spencer Sorensen of Portland State University and Marita Cardinal of Western Oregon University contributed to this study.

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Brad Cardinal, 541-737-2506

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Students get a full body workout in a Body Pump Class. Photo: OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences

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Brad Cardinal

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Students get a workout in a Body Pump Class. Photo: OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences

Older adults who are frail more likely to be food insufficient

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A national study of older Americans shows those who have limited mobility and low physical activity – scientifically categorized as “frail” – are five times more likely to report that they often don’t have enough to eat, defined as “food insufficiency,” than older adults who were not frail.

The nationally representative study of more than 4,700 adults older than age 60 in the United States uses data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The results are online today in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Lead author Ellen Smit, an epidemiologist at Oregon State University, said food insufficiency occurs when people report that they sometimes or often do not have enough food to eat. Food-insufficient older adults have been shown to have poor dietary intake, nutritional status and health status.

“Although little is known about food insufficiency as it relates to frailty, conceivably we thought if food insufficiency is associated with poorer nutritional status, it may also be associated with physical functioning and frailty,” she said.

Frailty is a state of decreased physical functioning and a significant complication of aging that increases the risk for incident falls, fractures, disability, health care expenditures, and premature mortality. People in this study are diagnosed as frail when they meet two of the following criteria: slow walking, muscular weakness, exhaustion and low physical activity.

Smit said as the population ages, with more than 20 percent of Americans expected to be older than 65 by 2030, the need for identifying clinical and population-based strategies to decrease the prevalence and consequences of frailty are needed. In her study, almost 50 percent of people were either frail, or “pre-frail,” meaning that they were at risk for decreased physical functioning.

Frail people were older, less educated, at lower income levels, more likely to be female, more likely to be smokers, and less likely to be white than adults who were not frail. Frail people were also more likely to be either underweight or obese, while at the same time eating fewer calories than people who were not frail.

“We need to target interventions on promoting availability and access to nutritious foods among frail older adults,” Smit said. “It is also important to improve nutritional status while not necessarily increasing body weight.”

Frail adults may have difficulty leaving the house, for instance, and accessing fresh fruits and vegetables. Smit said communities could work on identifying programs or nonprofit organizations that can deliver nutritious meals or fresh produce to older frail adults.

Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University, Bellarmine University, Tufts School of Medicine and Portland State University contributed to this study, which was partially supported by grants from the General Research Fund Award at Oregon State University and the National Institutes of Health.

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Ellen Smit, 541-737-3833

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Ellen Smit

Improving confidence keeps breast cancer survivors exercising

CORVALLIS, Ore. – More than 40 percent of older breast cancer survivors are insufficiently active after leaving a supervised program. But new research shows that those women who developed behavioral skills such as self-confidence and motivation during their program were far more likely to continue exercising on their own.

Regular exercise may reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence and breast cancer-related mortality, experts say, making it crucial to effectively target breast cancer survivors who do not engage in regular physical activity for interventions.

Researchers at Oregon State University partnered with researchers at Oregon Health and Science University who had conducted a clinical trial to understand the benefits of a 12-month supervised exercise program in 69 older breast cancer survivors. The goal was to discover what factors influenced participants’ ability to follow-through and continue exercising after the supervised program ended.

They found that breast cancer survivors with higher self-efficacy, or confidence to overcome exercise-related barriers (such as being too tired), were far more likely to continue exercising on their own. Those with higher self-efficacy scores were 10 percent more likely to be physically active six months after the intervention than those with lower scores.

The results of the study are published in the October issue of the journal Supportive Care in Cancer. It is the first study to assess predictors of behavior after a supervised exercise program in older breast cancer survivors.

Paul Loprinzi, lead author of the study, was a doctoral student at OSU when he did the research. Loprinzi, who is now a faculty member at Bellarmine University, said the good news is that behavioral skills to increase self-efficacy can be taught.

“We can teach breast cancer survivors how to enlist the support of others and how to identify exercise-related barriers, as well as provide proven strategies for them to overcome those barriers,” Loprinzi said.

The researchers said everyone should meet physical activity guidelines – and it can be even more crucial for breast cancer survivors. Loprinzi said exercise helps reduce common side effects of cancer treatment, such as fatigue, depression, decreased muscular strength and weight gain.

“Especially important is minimizing weight gain after breast cancer treatment because excessive weight gain can increase the risk of developing reoccurring breast cancer,” he said.

Bradley Cardinal, professor of exercise science at OSU and one of the study’s authors, said instructors who administer supervised exercise programs for breast cancer survivors can help by modeling behavior.

“When people who lead the classes are cancer survivors themselves, this can help because they become a role model,” he said. “Also, they can help prepare the participants for that time when they have to exercise on their own.”

Cardinal said in a past study done in his lab, he found several ways to develop behavioral skills that help people succeed at regular exercise. For instance, “counter-conditioning,” or substituting a positive behavior for a problem behavior, such as taking a walk whenever feeling stressed, can be effective.

“In making the transition from group to being on your own, committing yourself by developing  an activity schedule and identifying activities that are enjoyable, even signing a 'contract' with a social support partner would be useful,” Cardinal said.

Also, having a network of friends, family or providers who provide encouragement and support is also a factor that helps people to stick with exercise.

“Rewarding yourself for small successes and gradually building on that is also important,” he said. “It is critical to not expect too much too soon. And fitness instructors and future exercise scientists can help by preparing them before the last day of class on what to expect when they go from that group exercise environment to an individual setting.”

In addition, Cardinal said he would like to see policy makers address the issue of support for cancer survivors.

“We know survivors of breast cancer are much more likely to stick with exercise if they have that structured, group support,” Cardinal said. “Ideally, it would be great if insurance programs provided for that post-treatment supervised exercise longer than one year. But in lieu of that, we can help them build the skills to continue on their own successfully.”

The exercise study which provided data for Loprinzi’s publication was funded by the National Institutes of Health by a grant to the study’s co-author, Kerri Winters-Stone of OHSU.

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Bradley Cardinal, 541-737-2506

Study finds improved communication could reduce STDs among black teens

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Black urban teenagers from low-income families face a rate of sexually transmitted disease up to 10 times higher than their white counterparts, but recent studies at Oregon State University have identified approaches to prevention programs that might reduce this problem.

The research, based on interviews of black adolescents ages 15-17 in San Francisco and Chicago, found that information from parents, teachers and other caring adults is actually listened to, more than the adults might think. And the problem of youth getting “mixed messages” from different entities, ranging from schools to movies, churches, peer groups and medical clinics, may not be that large of an issue.

If teenagers get a wide range of medical, social, educational and personal support and information from multiple sources, they are fairly adept at separating the good sense from the nonsense, scientists said. Unfortunately, that broad range of information and communication often doesn’t exist.

And somewhat surprisingly, the research found that few youth use or trust the Internet for information on sexual health.

“The level of sexual activity at a young age and incidence of STDs, including HIV and AIDS, in low-income, urban black teenagers is high,” said Margaret Dolcini, an associate professor in OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “We have made strides in prevention, but need to continue to deepen our understanding of the factors that contribute to unsafe sexual activity.’

The OSU studies were published in Research in Human Development, a scientific journal, with support from the National Institutes of Health. They explored the influences and pressures this group of teenagers faced, including choices to have sex, where people get information, and how that affects behavior.

“We found that young black kids who got information from varied sources tended to do pretty well in making smart choices,” Dolcini said.

The most important progress, the OSU researchers found, could be made if various educational, religious and social support organizations would make a more concerted effort to address issues collectively, within the constraints of their roles and belief systems.

“We need more collaboration between family, schools, medical clinics, churches, and other entities that traditionally may not have worked together,” Dolcini said.

“This is possible, and we should encourage more of it,” she said. “We wouldn’t necessarily expect a church to offer condom demonstrations, but a community clinic or school sex education program might do exactly that. And there’s a place for both.”

Among the findings of the studies:

  • Stressing abstinence at young ages is appropriate, but could be made far more effective if youth were taught other forms of emotional interaction as an alternative to sexual intercourse.
  • Sex education will be more effective if sex is treated as a healthy part of life at appropriate ages and circumstances.
  • Young women benefitted strongly from families who had open lines of communication, talked about sex, monitored their activities and made it clear their health and safety was important.
  • Many teenagers have received surprisingly little accurate information about sex and sexual health.
  • Sex education programs in schools are nearly universal and there is also strong participation in sex-related education from youth at community centers.

This research was outlined this year in several publications by Peggy Dolcini and Joseph Catania at OSU, as part of their work with the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families. It was done in collaboration with researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, University of Alberta, DePaul University, Michigan State University and other organizations.

 

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M. Margaret Dolcini, 541-737-3829

Statewide public health conference set for Oct. 8-9

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Topics ranging from water fluoridation to prenatal care issues to the Oregon Health Plan will be discussed at the Oregon Public Health Association Conference Oct. 8-9 at Oregon State University’s LaSells Stewart Center.

Two keynote speakers will be featured at this year's conference. Richard Jackson, M.D., is professor at the University of California at Los Angeles and host of the PBS series, “Designing Healthy Communities.” In the past decade, much of his work has focused on how the "built environment" affects health. Jackson speaks at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8.

Bruce Goldberg, M.D., is a family physician who is helping to lead Oregon's health care transformation as director of the Oregon Health Authority. Goldberg will speak at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9.

“So often conversations about health focus on providing medical care to individuals,” Goldberg said. “But if people leave their doctor's office and go back to their community where nutritious food is not available, there are no sidewalks for walking, and the air is polluted, their health will suffer.”

In addition to the keynote talks, more than 80 presentations on key functional areas of public health and discussion forums will be held. Sessions will cover a wide variety of topics, including tobacco cessation and policies, a case study of Portland’s water fluoridation controversy, alcohol abuse prevention, obesity, prenatal care, contraception, and reduction of health disparities. A full schedule is at: http://www.oregonpublichealth.org/2012-conference

“This year, attention to community and built environments, as well as their impact on the long-term success of Oregon’s health services reform, make the conference an especially important networking opportunity for rural and urban stakeholders, elected officials, planners and public health professionals,” said Tom Eversole, president-elect of the Oregon Public Health Association and director of strategic development at OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

The conference is open to the public with a fee. News media are welcome to attend and can contact Angela Yeager or Marie Harvey.

The conference is sponsored by Conference of Local Health Officials, NorthWest Health Foundation, Oregon Health & Science University, and the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

Follow the conference and annual meeting on Twitter @ORPublicHealth and the conference hashtag at #OPHA12.

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Marie Harvey, 541-737-3824

Family harvest party and garden tour held Sept. 30

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A second annual harvest party with music, cider pressing, garden tours and kids’ activities will be held Sunday, Sept. 30, in Corvallis.

The free event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the WORMS Youth Garden at Westside Community Church, 4000 S.W. Western Blvd. The public is invited to tour this community garden, where there will be produce for sale, a raffle for prizes, and many activities for children including a scavenger hunt and face painting.

This event is an opportunity to tour a 10,000-square-foot youth garden that resulted out of an Oregon State University project.

The project, “Producing for the Future: A Collaboration between Low-Income Youth, Congregations, and Researchers,”  is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is designed to explore the health benefits of community-based garden programs. It brings together low-income youth ages 16-25, members of local faith-based communities, and university researchers to provide training, work experience, and improved health outcomes.

Youth, adult partners, and OSU researchers have worked together since early 2011 to design and plant a community garden and develop a microenterprise venture to market the produce grown. Using a process known as Community Based Participatory Research, youth, adult partners, and OSU researchers are collecting and analyzing data evaluating the project, and providing training and outreach to other communities interested in similar collaborations. Individuals in the project are both project designers and research participants.

Leslie Richards, assistant professor of human development and family sciences, is leading the research project. She said it is designed to teach young people entrepreneurship skills, as well as partner youth with adults to address issues of social injustice.

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Preschool children who can pay attention more likely to finish college

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Young children who are able to pay attention and persist with a task have a 50 percent greater chance of completing college, according to a new study at Oregon State University.

Tracking a group of 430 preschool-age children, the study gives compelling evidence that social and behavioral skills, such as paying attention, following directions and completing a task may be even more crucial than academic abilities.

And the good news for parents and educators, the researchers said, is that attention and persistence skills are malleable and can be taught.

The results were just published online in Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

“There is a big push now to teach children early academic skills at the preschool level,” said Megan McClelland, an OSU early child development researcher and lead author of the study. “Our study shows that the biggest predictor of college completion wasn’t math or reading skills, but whether or not they were able to pay attention and finish tasks at age 4.”

Parents of preschool children were asked to rate their children on items such as “plays with a single toy for long periods of time” or “child gives up easily when difficulties are encountered.” Reading and math skills were assessed at age 7 using standardized assessments. At age 21, the same group was tested again for reading and math skills.

Surprisingly, achievement in reading and math did not significantly predict whether or not the students completed college. Instead, researchers found that children who were rated higher by their parents on attention span and persistence at age 4 had nearly 50 percent greater odds of getting a bachelor’s degree by age 25.

McClelland, who is a nationally-recognized expert in child development, said college completion has been shown in numerous studies to lead to higher wages and better job stability. She said the earlier that educators and parents can intervene, the more likely a child can succeed academically.

“We didn’t look at how well they did in college or at grade point average,” McClelland said. “The important factor was being able to focus and persist. Someone can be brilliant, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can focus when they need to and finish a task or job.”

McClelland, who is also a core director in OSU’s Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families, said interventions aimed at increasing young children’s self-control abilities have repeatedly shown to help boost “self-regulation,” or a child’s ability to listen, pay attention, follow through on a task and remember instructions.

In a past study, McClelland found that simple, active classroom games such as Simon Says and Red Light/Green Light have been effective tools for increasing both literacy and self-regulation skills.

“Academic ability carries you a long way, but these other skills are also important,” McClelland said. “Increasingly, we see that the ability to listen, pay attention, and complete important tasks is crucial for success later in life.”

OSU’s Alan Acock, along with Andrea Piccinin of the University of Victoria and Sally Ann Rhea and Michael Stallings of the University of Colorado, contributed to this study, which was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and a Colorado Adoption Project grant.

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Megan McClelland, 541-737-9225

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Megan McClelland

Community garden open house held Aug. 9 in Sweet Home

SWEET HOME, Ore. – An open house to celebrate the achievement of local youth to create a thriving organic garden will be held Thursday, Aug. 9, in Sweet Home.

The event will be from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Sweet Home United Methodist Church, 845 6th Ave. It is free and open to the public.

As part of Oregon State University’s “Producing for the Future” research project, 14 low-income people ages 16-22 have been tending a local community garden and selling the produce at the Sweet Home Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, and at a Sunday booth at the Methodist Church. This open house celebrates and honors their work.

Fun activities for all ages will be available at the event, including garden tours, face painting, veggie games, recipe samples, a kids’ coloring table, a potato dig, and more.

Producing for the Future is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is a collaboration between low-income youth, community congregations, and researchers from OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

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Liv Gifford, 541-737-3668