142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Income is not associated with healthy food purchasing via grocery voucher in a rural, impoverished county

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Frances Hardin-Fanning, PhD, RN , College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Yevgeniya Gokun, MS , University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Background: More than 47 million American households rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds to help meet their nutritional needs.  State and local governments have recently attempted to impose dietary restrictions on SNAP funds. Media outlets have propagated a baseless claim that poverty and receipt of SNAP funds are associated with the likelihood to purchase unhealthy foods. The purpose of this study was to examine associations of income, age, gender and education with purchasing of healthy foods via a grocery voucher in a rural, impoverished county.

Methods: Healthy foods were labeled on grocery store shelves in a rural Appalachian county with high rates of SNAP participation. Participants (N=311) received a $5 voucher and list of healthy foods. No restrictions were placed on purchases. All participants returned their receipts. Multiple regression was used to assess factors that predicted the purchase of healthy foods.

Results: Gender and age (P = .01, .003), but not income or education level (P = .82, .33) predicted healthy food purchases. For every 10-year increase in age, there was a 29% increase in the likelihood that one or more healthy food items were purchased. Males were 48% less likely to purchase healthy food items compared to female participants.

Conclusion: Our study showed no association between low income status and the likelihood of using additional funds for unhealthy food purchases. The paternalistic view that adequately funding SNAP programs would result in more unhealthy food purchases and contribute to poor dietary habits, is unfounded based on current evidence.  

Learning Areas:

Program planning
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
List factors that predict healthy food purchases via grocery voucher in a rural, impoverished county with high rates of SNAP participation

Keyword(s): Food Security, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator on multiple studies funded by our institutional research department. These studies have focused on the discrepancies in food cost and security in rural Appalachian counties. My scientific interest is to develop individual, family, environmental and policy interventions that reduce these disparities which are associated with chronic disease risk.
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.

Back to: 3394.0: Health Impact of Food Access