Online Program

Food choices, preferences and barriers to healthy eating among community food cupboard clients

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mary Elizabeth Bowen, PhD, Department of Health, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA
Objective: The aim of this study is to describe the food choices, preferences and barriers to healthy eating among rural community food cupboard clients.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study design (N=104), a modified version of the CDC National Health and Nutrition survey was administered to a convenience sample of non-Latino White (N=28), non-Latino Black (N=12) and Latino (N=64) clients with monthly access to a community food cupboard.

Results: Latino clients were significantly younger (M=39 years) and reported larger families (M=4.5) than their counterparts. Most Latino clients were associated with migrant and seasonal farm work. Sixty-three percent of clients reported eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables/week and most clients listed fruits and vegetables as their primary food choice at the cupboard. Latinos were more likely than non-Latino Blacks to request more fruit and vegetable availability at the cupboard (p≤0.05). Compared to non-Latino Whites, Latinos (p≤0.001) and non-Latino Blacks (p≤0.05) were least likely to desire and choose “easy to prepare” foods. Latinos (p≤0.001) were most interested in learning how to cook and prepare healthy meals. Thirty-nine percent of clients reported food cost at the grocery store as a barrier to healthy eating.

Discussion: This study’s findings suggest food cupboard clients are making healthy food choices where available but that choices are limited by monthly access to the cupboard and food costs at the grocery store. Community-level programs designed to increase access to healthy foods and provide educational sessions on healthy meal preparation may benefit needy families.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
List the barriers to healthy eating among food cupboard clients. Evaluate potential community-level programs that may increase access to healthy foods for needy families.

Keyword(s): Latinos, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the MPH Department Research Assistant for this project. I have successfully completed numerous quantitative courses in addition to contributing to the conceptualization of the study and the data analysis.
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.