243109 Environment and economics as barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption in the Bronx

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:48 AM

Carlos Devia, MA , Bronx Health REACH- NY CEED, Institute for Family Health, New York, NY
Jonathon Gass Jr., MPH , Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR), The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Abigail Wiener , Center for Evaluation, New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Charmaine Ruddock, MS , Bronx Health REACH, New York, NY
Linda Weiss, PhD , Center for Evaluation and Applied Research, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Kelly Moltzen, MPH, RD , Bronx Health REACH-NY CEED, The Institute for Family Health, New York, NY
Ruchi Mathur, BS , Bronx Health REACH- NY CEED, Institute for Family Health, New York, NY
Anna York, MS , MARC Academy and Family Center, Bronx, NY
Theresa Landau, MS, RD, CDN , Morrisania D&TC, Bronx, NY
Evalina Irish-Spencer, MS, RD, CDN , Cornell Cooperative Cooperative Extension-NYC, New York, NY
Neil Calman, MD , Institute for Family Health, New York, NY
Introduction: Bronx Health REACH, a Coalition of more than 70 community-based organizations, has been working to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among school-age children in the South Bronx, a low income neighborhood with limited healthy food options. Method: As a preliminary step to develop a healthy eating social marketing campaign, the coalition used participatory methods to conduct formative research with 4th and 5th graders (n=13), their parents (n=13) and school staff (n=4) at an afterschool program. Using photovoice, focus groups, and interviews, data were collected on food purchasing and dietary behavior and the factors that influence them. Results: Children and adults described and illustrated environmental and economic conditions that served as impediments to the purchase and consumption of fresh produce. Students photographed rotting fruit and dead rodents to illustrate conditions in some local stores. Economic constraints were described by several participant families: because of limited income, parents reported preferences for canned or frozen food over pricey and perishable produce. Many parents cited time constraints, fatigue resulting from busy work schedules, and single parent households as reasons for their reliance on packaged and fast food. Unhealthy food preferences, particularly among the children, compounded environmental and economic barriers. Discussion: The project was unique in assessing food purchasing and dietary behavior from multiple perspectives using a variety of research methods. Engaging in formative research has built capacity within our Coalition to design a social marketing campaign that is sensitive to the attitudes, expectations and experiences of the South Bronx's children, families and teachers.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the Bronx Health REACH coalition’s efforts to combat childhood obesity rates in the south Bronx – a neighborhood with limited healthy food options – using a community-based participatory approach. Explain the rationale for developing a social marketing campaign to promote consumption of fruit and vegetables among school-age children in a poor urban community. List results from examining the attitudes and behaviors of children, parents and school staff regarding healthy eating in a low-income urban setting. Discuss the strengths and limitations of using a multifaceted approach for formative research aimed at understanding school-age children’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviors toward healthier foods poor in urban communities.

Keywords: Child Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I coordinate Bronx Health REACH’s formative research project centered on food preferences and behaviors of school-aged children created to inform the design and content of a social marketing campaign. Prior to joining Bronx Health REACH, I coordinated several NIH-funded studies on minority health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and New York University. In particular, research aiming to find culturally appropriate treatments for the cluster of conditions associated with morbidity and mortality among African-Americans and Latinos in the Bronx, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. I have amp experience presenting at community and academic forums.
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.