Submitted to: Preventing Chronic Disease
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/14/2008
Publication Date: 10/1/2009
Citation: Zoellner, J., Connell, C., Bounds, W., Crook, L., Yadrick, K. 2009. Nutrition literacy status and preferred nutrition communication channels among adults in the Lower Mississippi Delta. Preventing Chronic Disease. 6(4):A128.
Interpretive Summary: Poor health literacy is recognized as a significant threat to health and to disease prevention, and lack of nutrition literacy may prevent health disparate populations from adopting dietary recommendations, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that contribute to health. The objective of this study was to examine the nutrition literacy status among adults in the Lower Mississippi Delta region. Survey instruments included the Newest Vital Sign and an adapted version of the Health Information National Trends Survey. The sampling plan accounted for the educational achievement of residents in the Delta region. Participants included 177 adults, primarily African Americans (81%). Results indicated 24% of participants had a high likelihood of limited nutrition literacy skills, 28% had a possibility of limited nutrition literacy skills, and 48% had adequate nutrition literacy skills. Overall, the Internet was the least trusted and least used source for seeking nutrition information. Participants trusted information from doctor or health care providers and the television the most, and Internet the least. Only 12% of participants correctly identified the 2005 MyPyramid graphic, and the majority (78%) rated their dietary knowledge as poor or fair. Compared to other national surveys, rates of limited health literacy among Delta adults were high. Results indicate nutrition literacy status has important implications for acquiring and trust of nutrition information. These findings add to our understanding of effective and ineffective methods to communicate dietary guidance to this and similar at-risk population groups whose exposure and access to and use of electronic communication channels may differ greatly from that of the mainstream U.S. population
Technical Abstract: Our objective was to explore cultural perceptions of the MyPyramid key messages and identify factors that may impact adoption of these recommendations. Participants were 23 adults, primarily African American females, residing in the Lower Mississippi Delta. When asked to identify good reasons to follow the MyPyramid key messages, non-specific references to improved health were most prevalent (n=130); however, participants also acknowledged the importance of getting vitamins and nutrients (n=81), and the impact food choices have on health conditions (n=77) and organ systems (n=65). Individual level factors (n=211), such as dislike for foods and tradition or customs, far outnumbered environmental level factors (n=48), such as cost and availability as perceived reasons preventing community members from adhering to the key messages. The most frequently mentioned suggestion for helping community members eat according to the MyPyramid were to raise awareness (n=93), provide information (n=65), and improve the taste of or provide opportunity to taste(n=49). This study captured participants' cultural perspectives of the MyPyramid key messages. Results indicate that both social marketing campaigns and intervention efforts focused on individual level factors are needed to promote the MyPyramid in this disadvantaged Delta region.