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Research Project: Preventing the Development of Childhood Obesity

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Food assistance use among food bank clients affected by type 2 diabetes

item SHORT, ELIZA - University Of Arizona
item SHARMA, JAYATI - Johns Hopkins School Of Public Health
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item TAREN, DOUGLAS - University Of Arizona
item GONZALEZ, RHONDA - Community Food Bank Of Southern Arizona
item HINGLE, MELANIE - University Of Arizona

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/8/2021
Publication Date: 1/13/2022
Citation: Short, E., Sharma, J., Thompson, D.J., Taren, D., Gonzalez, R., Hingle, M. 2022. Food assistance use among food bank clients affected by type 2 diabetes. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Interpretive Summary: Food insecure households often utilize emergency food assistance programs administered by food banks and pantries, yet the degree to which food assistance and related resources are responsive to the needs of food insecure persons struggling with chronic diet-related conditions, especially type 2 diabetes (T2DM), is not well understood. Food assistance use was driven by household preferences, and versatility and ability to pair foods with existing household foods. Desired foods and resources as well as challenges were identified. Participants reported resilience and an interest in improving T2DM management in self and others. This research identified barriers and facilitators to food assistance use and T2DM management among food insecure households.

Technical Abstract: Our objective was to understand the perspectives of food bank clients affected by type 2 diabetes (T2DM): food bank use and preferences, and how these related to T2DM management. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with food bank clients at an Arizona regional food bank. Participants were 20 English- and Spanish-speaking food bank clients with T2DM or living with a person with T2DM, aged 45-83 years, majority female, Hispanic, and food insecure. We used a hybrid thematic analysis combining inductive and deductive reasoning. Three organizing themes emerged from the analysis. First, food assistance was influenced by food preferences and the ability to pair with existing household foods. Second, desired support included fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, oats, oil, and herbs; recipes; cooking demonstrations; and social support. Third, factors influencing T2DM management were lack of financial resources, low motivation, insuffcient nutrition knowledge, low medication adherence, and multiple comorbidities. Participants also expressed resilience and interest in improving T2DM management. We found that among a predominantly Hispanic food bank sample, produce and protein-rich foods, nutrition and culinary education, and social support were components of a supportive food bank experience and should be considered when designing food-based interventions for T2DM management for food insecure persons.