241692 Factors among the household environment matter most: Exploring determinants of fruit and vegetable intake among a sample of low-income, ethnically diverse middle school students

Monday, October 31, 2011: 1:15 PM

Rose Jennings, MPH , Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, UT School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Austin, TX
Alexandra Evans, PhD , Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Austin, TX
Introduction: Adolescents, especially those who are low-income, are not eating recommended levels of fruits and vegetables (FV) and more research on determinants of FV intake (FVI) among this population group is needed. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine intra-personal, home environment, and demographic determinants of FVI among low-income, ethnically diverse adolescents, using the Social-Ecological framework.

Methods: Participants included 194 parents (87% female; 69% Latino; 59% low-income) and adolescents (76% female; ages 12-13). Intra-personal (i.e. knowledge, FV self-efficacy, FV preference, FV motivation, taste for homegrown FV, growing FV, and cooking FV); household (i.e. parent FVI, FV availability (AA), adult support, family dinner frequency, frequency parents prepare FV, and frequency family eats homegrown FV); and demographic factors (i.e. grade, sex, ethnicity, parent marital status, parent employment, parent education, and parent income) were measured. Reliable and validates scales were used. Multiple regression models were constructed to assess variables correlated with adolescent FVI (significance level p>.05).

Results: Consumption of 5+ FV daily was low (15.0% parents; 22.7% students). Two demographic, 2 intra-personal, and 6 household variables were included in the final regression model ( AR2 =.327, p<.001). Parent education (=.17), parent FVI (=.16) and household AA (=.24) were significant predictors in the model (p<.05). Factors in the household environment explained 80% of the variation in student FVI.

Conclusion: Among a sample of low-income adolescents, factors in their home environment far outweighed the contribution of demographic and intra-personal factors to FVI, underscoring the need for interventions targeting agents within the home environment.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. To identify significant household predictors of low-income adolescent's fruit and vegetable intake. 2. To compare the impact of psycho-social factors of adolescents to factors within the household environemnt of low-income adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a doctoral student in Health Promotion and Health Education at the University of Texas School of Public Health and I work as a Graduate Assistant for the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.
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.