201367 Household food security and fruit and vegetable intake among low-income 4th graders

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 8:30 AM

Stephanie Grutzmacher, PhD , Department of Family Studies, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Susan M. Gross, PhD, MPH, RD , University of Maryland Cooperative Extension, Food Supplemental Nutrition Program, Columbia, MD
Objective: To describe the demographic characteristics, fruit and vegetable intake behaviors, and household food security among low-income school aged children from the Mid-Atlantic region. Design, Setting and Participants: An school-based cross-sectional survey of 54 low-income fourth grade student and their parents from the Mid-Atlantic region. Outcome Measures and Analysis: Food Security Status and Average Daily Fruit and Vegetable Intake. Frequency distributions and means of all variables, Chi-squared and one-way ANOVA tests. Results: Forty-six percent (n=25) of parents reported low or very low food security. The average daily intake of fruits and vegetables (FV) was 1.66 (1.53). Only 7.4% (n=4) of students consumed 5 or more FV per day and 16.7% (n=10) consumed 3 or more FV per day. Almost 75% of students bought lunch in the school cafeteria, over 90% of students reported eating fruit for lunch and almost 75% of students at vegetables for lunch. Students whose parents reported low food security reported higher FV intake than those reporting very low food security and those with high or marginal food security [(mean±sd) 2.56±1.98 vs 1.29±0.80 & 1.11±0.90, respectively; p<0.01]. Conclusions: This study highlights the need to examine other factors that may influence fruit and vegetable intake in low-income children. We see that, in these data, the relationship between food security and fruit and vegetable consumption is not necessarily linear like we may assume it is. This may reveal the importance of school lunch programs and other food programs.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the association between household food insecurity and fruit and vegetable intake among a sample of low-income 4th graders and their parents. 2. Explore the factors that influence fruit and vegetable consumption in school aged children. 3. Discuss possible pathways by which food security may be related to fruit and vegetable intake among low-income school-aged children.

Keywords: Food Security, Children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Grutzmacher received her Ph.D. in Family Studies from the University of Maryland in 2007. Her research focuses on Health and nutrition literacy, social welfare policy, engaged/experiential pedagogy, food security and nutrition education for low-income populations, health program planning and evaluation. She is currently PI on Nutrition Literacy Research Project and Evaluation Coordinator/Associate Faculty Agent for Maryland Food Supplemental Nutrition Education, Maryland Cooperative Extension, University of Maryland, College Park and an co-investigator on the FRESH pilot program the source of the data for this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.