264746 What's on your plate, San Diego? An analysis of food expenditures in San Diego County

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Alicia Sampson, MPH, CPH , Health & Human Services Agency, Public Health Services, County of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Isabel Corcos, PhD, MPH , County of San Diego, Emergency Medical Services, County of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Susan Farrish, MD , Health & Human Services Agency, Public Health Services, County of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Yazmin Amado Vu, MPH , Health and Human Services Agency - Emergency Medical Services, County of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Preeti Ravindhran, BS, BA , Emergency Medical Services, County of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Leslie Ray, MPH, MPPA, MA , Emergency Medical Services, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, San Diego, CA
Barbara M. Stepanski, MPH , Emergency Medical Services, County of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Amelia Kenner-Brininger, MPH, CPH , Emergency Medical Services, County of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Joshua Smith, PhD, MPH , Emergency Medical Services, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, San Diego, CA
Intro: Public health efforts to reduce the burden of chronic disease are heavily focused on improving the diets of community residents. As part of health promotion efforts in San Diego County, we analyzed household purchases for foods intended for consumption at home. Our goal was to determine how closely purchases matched components of the MyPlate Dietary Guidelines.

Methods: Household food expenditures were estimated by converting how much food by weight was purchased using detailed census-tract level data on household spending on food items from ESRI and data on average food costs per weight from the U.S.D.A. Average annual household purchases of food by weight were calculated for census tracts and summarized to estimate the amounts of foods purchased for each Region and the County. Proportions of foods in the categories of grains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins were calculated to see if purchases in these components matched those recommended by MyPlate.

Results: Although there was variability in the dollars spent by census tract, the proportional expenditure on food items by food group was similar across all census tracts and Regions. Overall, food purchases included more than recommended amounts of protein, too few whole grains, and over one third empty calories.

Conclusions: Household food purchases differ in dollars spent, but expenditures as proportions of the food budget, were nearly identical across census tracts. On average, more than one-third of household food expenditures were on empty calorie items. This will help determine purchasing patterns needing changing as we work towards promoting healthy lifestyles.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify food trends in household food expenditures for home consumption. 2. Compare household food expenditures to the MyPlate recommendations. 3. Develop a model to analyze food consumption at the census-tract and County level.

Keywords: Health Behavior, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the co-principal of several projects focusing on health behaviors, diet and nutrition, and the health status of San Diego County residents. Among my scientific interest has been the analysis of health statuses and behaviors among San Diego County residents.
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.