Online Program

Environment, health, and the food we eat: Measuring people's thoughts and actions

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Jane K. Dixon, PhD, School of Nursing, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Lisa Gaetke, PhD, RD, Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
John P. Dixon, PhD, Greater New Haven Green Fund, Woodbridge, CT
PURPOSE/QUESTION: People's thoughts and actions regarding environmental health may include food-related issues (e.g., concern about contaminants like mercury or pesticides in foods), as well as food-related strategies (e.g., eating healthy diet to counter effects of pollution). Thus, there is need to integrate understanding of food-related thoughts and actions with those regarding environment and health more generally, especially among populations with high exposure to environmental health hazards. This presentation describes psychometric properties of the Environmental Health Engagement Profile (EHEP), as modified to include substantial food-related content (now called Kentucky Nutrition version). METHOD: As part of a larger study on nutritional strategies for mitigating health effects of hazardous waste sites in Kentucky, EHEP was enhanced with 14 new items, designed to be consistent with the existing subscales. Data was collected at Cooperative Extension Service events and community festivals in Kentucky. Most events were held in communities with identified hazardous waste sites. Data from 774 participants were analyzed for indicators of subscale reliability (i.e., Cronbach's alpha), internal structure (i.e., factor analysis), and psychometric adequacy of the new items. RESULTS: Cronbach's alpha reliability was good to excellent, for the five subscales: Pollution Sensitivity -.94, Pollution-Causes Illness - .91, Pollution Acceptance - .80, Personal Environmental Action - .81, Community Environmental Action - .88. No added nutrition item detracts from reliability of its subscale. Factor analysis yielded a five factor solution entirely consistent with existing subscales. CONCLUSIONS: The Kentucky Nutrition version of EHEP is an enhanced and psychometrically sound instrument for measuring people's thoughts and actions regarding environmental health, including substantial coverage of food-related issues and strategies. It will be useful in assessing people's concerns regarding food as a source of exposure to environmental health hazards, as well as people's use of food as a strategy to reduce effects of environmental hazards on health.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Analyze rationnale for integrating food-related issues and strategies into an instrument (questionnaire) for measuring people's thoughts and actions about environment and health. Assess psychometric characteristics and value of the instrument described.

Keyword(s): Environmental Health, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an experienced researcher who has had major federally funded grants as Principal Investigator and co-investigator. I often focus on problems of measurement, including developing and validating instruments. I also have particular interest in environmental health, especially behavioral perspectives. With collaborators, I previously created the measurement instrument which was modified for this initiative.
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.