Submitted to: Nutrition Research
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2006
Publication Date: 8/29/2006
Citation: Bowman, S.A. 2006. A comparison of the socioeconomic characteristics, dietary practices, and health status of women food shoppers with different food price attitudes. Nutrition Research. 26:318-324. Interpretive Summary: Food price affects what foods people buy. Fruit and vegetables are foods generally considered expensive while grain products, sugary beverages, and fried foods are considered relatively inexpensive sources of energy. The aim of the study was to find out whether women who considered food price very important ate a less nutritious diet than women who did not consider food price very important. The study also compared the weight and health status of these two groups of women. The study used the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Diet and Health Knowledge Survey 1994-1996 data. There were 2,569 women in the study. Women living in low-income households or women having high school or less than high school education were more likely to consider food price very important. The women who considered price very important consumed less energy, less milk, less non-starchy vegetables, the foods that are relatively high in price, and drank more sweetened fruit drinks, an inexpensive source of energy. They were more likely to add table fat to cooked vegetables and often ate fried chicken.They also had a high mean body mass index, more of them were overweight, and had health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Dietitians working with low-income food shoppers should show them cost-effective ways to buy seasonally available vegetables and give them tips on dietary fat reduction strategies. The study findings are useful to dietitians, extension workers, local and state health intervention officials, and policy advocates who work with low-income women.
Technical Abstract: The aim of the study was to find out whether women who considered food price very important when grocery shopping altered their food choices and consequently their diet quality and weight status. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Diet and Health Knowledge Survey 1994-1996 was used (N=2,569). The women were grouped based on their attitudes toward the importance of price when buying food. Food price was very important to 46.8 percent of women studied. Food price was very important to 69 percent of women living in low-income households, 52 percent of women having high school or less than high school education, and 52 percent of women who were not employed. The women who considered price very important consumed 70 kilocalories less energy. They consumed 30 grams less non-starchy vegetables, which are relatively high in price, and drank 0.5 ounces more sweetened fruit drinks, an inexpensive source of energy. About 50 percent of them always or sometimes ate chicken as fried chicken. Their mean body mass index was 1.6 kg/ m2 more than that of women who did not consider food price important. Moreover, 11 percent of women who considered food price very important were overweight. Forty-seven percent of them said that there were too many dietary recommendations, and it was hard for them to know what to believe. Dietitians working with low-income food shoppers should help them understand dietary guidance and address cost effective ways to buy seasonally available vegetables and promote dietary fat reduction strategies.