Online Program

Contextual factors associated with use of healthy and unhealthy food choice coping strategies among food insecure parents

Monday, November 4, 2013

Christine E. Blake, PhD, RD, Arnold School of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion Education and Behavior, Center for Research in Nutrition and Health DIsparities, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Sonya Jones, Ph.D., Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Lauren Martini, MPH, Epidemiology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Bethany A. Bell, PhD, Educational Studies, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
INTRODUCTION: Parents' struggles to integrate multiple demands when feeding their families often involve the use of food choice coping strategies (FCCS). Food insecure families may be particularly vulnerable to the use using greater unhealthy and fewer healthy FCCS. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between individual and contextual factors and the use of different FCCS among food insecure (FI) parents. METHODS: FI parents (n=204) participated in a survey to examine experiences of hunger. FCCS including speeding up (e.g. increased processed, ready-to-eat meals), individualized eating (e.g. family members eat meals at different times) , and planning (e.g. prepping ingredients for meals in advance); Individual level factors including affinity with a healthy eating identity, stress, positive and negative life events; and contextual factors including urbanicity and social support were assessed. Data were analyzed using ordered logit and OLS models. RESULTS: Urban residence and reporting fewer positive life events over three years was associated with speeding-up meals (OR=1.99;p<.05 and OR=0.95;p<.05). Affinity with a healthy eating identity and social support from friends were positively associated with planning meals (â=.14;p<.05 and â=.06;p<.05). There were no associations between stress and any FCCS or between individual and contextual factors and individualized eating among these FI parents. DISCUSSION: Food insecure parents cumulative positive life experiences, an orientation toward healthy eating, and social support from friends may influence use of healthier FCCS. Food insecure parents living in urban areas or experiencing fewer positive life events may be susceptible to using unhealthy FCCS than their rural counterparts

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe relationships between contextual factors and the unhealthy and healthy food choice coping strategies used by food insecure parents.

Keyword(s): Health Behavior, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research focuses on contextual and cognitive factors that influence food choice behaviors of parents. My work has highlighted how parents, especially low-income mothers, use different decision making processes when choosing foods for themselves versus their children and how integration of work and family demands impacts food behaviors. I am an assistant professor at a school of public health with an RD credential and MS and PhD degrees in community nutrition.
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.