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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Perspectives on barriers to eating healthy among food pantry clients

Author
item Dave, Jayna - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Svendsen-sanchez, Ann - University Of Houston
item Cullen, Karen - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Health Equity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2017
Publication Date: 1/24/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5695414
Citation: Dave, J.M., Thompson, D.J., Svendsen-Sanchez, A., Cullen, K.W. 2017. Perspectives on barriers to eating healthy among food pantry clients. Health Equity. 1(1):28-34.

Interpretive Summary: The focus of this article is to explore perspectives on barriers of eating healthy among food pantry clients. Fifty-four clients from 10 food pantries served by the Houston Food Bank participated in the study. Interviews, focus groups and questionnaires were used to assess demographics and barriers to eating healthy. Questionnaire data were analyzed for frequencies and descriptives with two major themes that emerged: concern over obesity and other chronic diseases, and barriers to healthy eating. Several subthemes for barriers to healthy eating were identified: financial uncertainty, cost of healthy foods, lack of time, rationing food within family, lack of transportation, lack of adequate kitchen equipment, lack of nutrition knowledge and skills, and social support network. This article provides evidence that issues identified above and those identified by others working with low-income populations need to be systematically addressed and incorporated into programs and nutrition education interventions for this group.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to explore perspectives on barriers of eating healthy among food pantry clients. Food pantry clients participated in focus groups/interviews. Qualitative data were coded and analyzed using content analyses and grounded theory approach. Themes were then identified. Quantitative data were analyzed for frequencies and descriptives. Fifty-four clients from 10 pantries participated in interviews/focus groups and completed questionnaires. Two major themes emerged: concern over obesity and other chronic diseases, and barriers to healthy eating. Several subthemes for barriers to healthy eating were identified: financial uncertainty, cost of healthy foods, lack of time, rationing food within family, lack of transportation, lack of adequate kitchen equipment, lack of nutrition knowledge and skills, and social support network. Issues identified above and those identified by others working with low-income populations need to be systematically addressed and incorporated into programs and nutrition education interventions for this group.