205900 A Qualitative Exploratory Study of Food Management Strategies among African Americans

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 12:50 PM

Jylana Sheats, MPH , Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Darleesa Doss, MPH , Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Fernando Ona, PhD, MPH , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Paula Jones, PhD (c) , Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
Dyeshia Sampson , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Background: An understanding of social and cultural factors influencing aspects of food purchasing and consumption habits are essential in order to effectively address obesity. African Americans are disproportionately affected having particularly high rates of obesity.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine formal and informal food purchase and consumption activities of African Americans during perceived periods of food shortage or financial crisis.

Methods: A convenience sample of African Americans were recruited for a series of semi-structured in-depth interviews to determine food-purchasing patterns and food management strategies during periods of perceived food shortage or financial crisis. A total of 40 in-depth interviews were conducted in California and Indiana and a content analysis of transcripts indicated both differences and similarities with respect to how subjects perceived food insufficiency and their coping strategies.

Results: During food shortage or financial crises, budgeting involves dietary concessions. The majority of subjects stated they would eat less, eat cheaper foods, and buy foods that would last longer. Subjects also reported that they relied on informal networks more often to acquire food and leveraged social networks as food resources. Findings indicate that everyday contexts have an impact upon food choices, including: class, responsibility to other household members, time, and purchasing locale. Equally important are accessible food environments and food safety nets. The results of the study reported here have important implications for the development of culturally appropriate and financially realistic public health interventions.

Learning Objectives:
Describe food management strategies among African Americans Discuss contexts that have an impact on food management strategies among African Americans Identify implications for development of culturally appropriate public health interventions around food management strategies

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a doctoral student working on this research in collaboration with faculty and community organizers.
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.