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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Attitudes and beliefs affect frequency of eating out in the Lower Mississippi Delta

Authors
item Mcgee, Bernestine -
item Gossett, Jeffrey -
item Simpson, Pippa -
item Johnson, Glenda -
item Bardell, Kimberly -
item Richardson, Valerie -
item Thornton, Alma -
item Johnson, Crystal -
item Williams, Jovan
item Kim, Karen -
item Bogle, Margaret

Submitted to: Race, Gender and Class
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 7, 2009
Publication Date: December 1, 2009
Citation: McGee, B.B., Johnson, G.S., Bardell, K., Richardson, V., Thornton, A., Johnson, C., Williams, J.E., Bogle, M.L. 2009. Attitudes and beliefs affect frequency of eating out in the Lower Mississippi Delta. Race, Gender and Class. 16(3-4):19-30.

Interpretive Summary: Attitudes and beliefs reflecting cultural values can have a positive or negative influence on eating behaviors. The goal of this study was to determine if frequency of eating out was different among Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD) residents with a positive attitude toward healthy eating. A comparison was made of those who thought it was important to (1) restrict salt, (2) eat fruits and vegetables, (3) consume adequate fiber, (4) eat a variety of foods, (5) eat 2 servings of dairy daily, (6) maintain a healthy weight, and (7) exercise regularly to those who did not. Those who thought it was important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables ate out less often. Those who thought that it was important to consume adequate fiber also ate out less often, in addition to those who thought it was important to eat 2 servings of dairy daily and have fruit for dessert. LMD residents who were younger, Caucasian, or male or having a lower income or better healthy eating attitude ate out more. Previous research found diet to be poorer in those with lower income and education, and those residing in food insecure households. This suggests that income, age, ethnicity, and healthy eating perspective are important predictors of how often people eat out. Sensitivity to the beliefs and attitudes is important when planning effective nutrition interventions.

Technical Abstract: Attitudes and beliefs reflecting cultural values can have a positive or negative influence on eating behaviors. Eating out may negatively affect diet quality through increased fat intake and larger portion sizes. In a representative sample of the Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD) consisting of 1601 African Americans (AA) and Caucasian (C) adults, the aim was to show that the frequency of eating out was lower among residents having a better attitude toward diet in addition to ethnic and socioeconomic differences. A comparison was made between those who thought it was important to (1) restrict salt, (2) eat fruits and vegetables, (3) consume adequate fiber, (4) eat a variety of foods, (5) eat 2 servings of dairy daily (6) maintain a healthy weight, and (7) exercise regularly to those who did not. Those who thought it was important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (P< 0.001) ate out less often. Those who also thought that it was important to consume adequate fiber (P<0.005) also ate out less often, in addition to those who thought it was important to eat 2 servings of dairy daily (P <0.05) and have fruit for dessert (P<0.007). Using regression modeling with frequency of eating out as the outcome, religiosity, income, education, ethnicity, gender, food security, knowledge, and age as independent variables, the data showed that all but religiosity, food security, and education were significant. Being younger, Caucasian, or male or having a lower income or better healthy eating attitude resulted in eating out more. Previous research found diet to be poorer in those with lower income and education, and those residing in food-insecure households. This suggests that income, age, ethnicity, and healthy eating perspective are important predictors of how often people eat out. Sensitivity to the beliefs and attitudes is important when planning effective nutrition interventions.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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