142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Dietary Practices to Improve Health: Decision-making in Food Choice among African Americans in Rural Southern Illinois

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Shanell McGoy, PhD , Health Policy Leadership Fellowship Program, Morehouse School of Medicine Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Carbondale, IL
Martinique Free, MPH , Department of Health Education and Recreation, So IL Univ Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
The Mississippi Delta Region which extends from Southern Illinois to Louisiana is characterized by its large African-American population and rich farmland while paradoxically, food deserts exist in the region.  It is also characterized by persistent poverty and chronic disease, to such an extent that it has been dubbed “The Stroke Belt” and the “Diabetes Belt” (Barker et al., 2011; Borhani, 1965; Howard, 1999).  Like the rest of the region, being rural, possessing high levels of poverty, and large populations of African Americans; Alexander and Pulaski counties in the southernmost part of Illinois have African American populations of 35.4% and 32.4% respectively (U.S. Census 2010).  This study explored factors that contribute to decision-making in food choice among African American residents of a food desert in rural Southern Illinois.

In-depth semi-structured, open-ended interviews were conducted with the primary purchaser and preparer of foods within households.  Food shopping behaviors in addition to accessibility and perceptions of nutrition environment were ascertained among seventeen women (71%) and 7 men (29%).  Negotiation of limitations regarding nutrition environment were also explored.  ATLAS.ti 7.0 was used to analyze data in codes, categories and themes.

Three main themes related to dietary practices to improve health were identified in food choice decision making:  smaller portion sizes and consumption of lesser quantities of certain foods, change in food preparation, and concern for chemicals and hormones in meat and produce.

Despite limitations in the nutrition environment, participants were eating healthier, aware and responsive to traditional African-American foodways, and resourceful in food acquisition.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how African Americans living in a rural Southern Illinois food desert navigate their nutrition environment Identify factors that contribute to decision-making in food choices among African Americans living in food deserts in rural Southern Illinois

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Built Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed numerous courses in qualitative research methods as well as research projects. With degrees in public health, health education, and health policy I am poised to conduct research in diverse population.
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.