Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #246462

Title: Food and beverage choices contributing to dietary guidelines adherence in the Lower Mississippi Delta

item Thomson, Jessica
item Onufrak, Stephen
item Connell, Carol
item Zoellner, Jamie - University Of Southern Mississippi
item Tussing Humphreys, Lisa
item Bogle, Margaret
item Yadrick, Kathy - University Of Southern Mississippi

Submitted to: Public Health Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/19/2011
Publication Date: 6/30/2011
Citation: Thomson, J.L., Onufrak, S.J., Connell, C., Zoellner, J., Tussing Humphreys, L.M., Bogle, M.L., Yadrick, K. 2011. Food and beverage choices contributing to dietary guidelines adherence in the Lower Mississippi Delta. Public Health Nutrition. pp.1-11.

Interpretive Summary: The Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD) is a poor region of the United States that suffers from high rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The diet of LMD residents, which differ from the US as a whole, may be partially to blame for their generally poor health and high rates of chronic disease. To guide the investigators in designing dietary interventions that focus on substitution of less healthy foods or preparations with more healthful ones, diet quality and top food sources contributing to specific dietary components were determined. The investigators found that younger LMD adults had much poorer diets, eating less fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and more high fat/high sugar foods (e.g. soda, potato chips, French fries) than their older counterparts. To improve the diet quality of LMD adults, the consumption of more whole fruits and less fruit juices and drinks should be encouraged, particularly for males, African Americans, and those less than 40 years of age. Similarly, the consumption of vegetables other than white potatoes, especially French fries and potato chips, should be encouraged with added focus on those less than 30 years of age and those with low incomes (<$15,000 per year). Perhaps the single best opportunity for improving the diet of LMD adults lies with sugar-sweetened beverage consumption which represents a significant source of empty calories for LMD adults. Replacing sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks and fruit drinks, with water or unsweetened tea could not only improve the diet quality of LMD adults, but potentially lead to significant weight loss as well.

Technical Abstract: The objectives of this study were to evaluate dietary quality among Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD) residents using the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005), determine the major food sources contributing to HEI-2005 components, and investigate demographic differences in HEI-2005 scores and major food sources. Dietary quality was evaluated using HEI-2005. Demographic differences in HEI-2005 scores were investigated using multivariable regression models adjusting for multiple comparisons. Major food sources contributing to HEI-2005 components were determined by estimating and ranking mean MyPyramid equivalent servings overall and by demographic characteristics. Adult dietary data from the Foods of Our Delta Survey 2000 (FOODS 2000) was used in the analyses. Results indicated that younger age was the largest determinant of low dietary quality in the LMD with HEI-2005 total and seven component scores declining with decreasing age. Income was not a significant factor for HEI-2005 total or component scores. Major foods sources differed by all five of the demographic variables, particularly for total vegetables and calories from solid fats, alcoholic beverages, and added sugars (SoFAAS). Soft drinks were the leading source of calories from SoFAAS across all demographic groups. The assessment of dietary quality and adherence to dietary guidelines, as well as the determination of top food sources, are necessary steps in the development of culturally appropriate dietary modifications for a given population.