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Using direct observations on multiple occasions to measure household food availability among low-income Mexicano residents in Texas colonias.

Sharkey JR, Dean WR, St John JA, Huber JC - BMC Public Health (2010)

Bottom Line: Further, the results revealed the inadequacy of a one-time measurement of household food resources, compared with multiple measures.Clearly, the data show that a single HFI may miss the changes in availability--presence and amount--that occur among low-income Mexicano households who face challenges that require frequent purchase of foods and beverages.Use of multiple household food inventories can inform the development and implementation of nutrition-related policies and culturally sensitive nutrition education programs.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, MS 1266, College Station, TX, USA. jrsharkey@srph.tamhsc.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: It has been recognized that the availability of foods in the home are important to nutritional health, and may influence the dietary behavior of children, adolescents, and adults. It is therefore important to understand food choices in the context of the household setting. Considering their importance, the measurement of household food resources becomes critical.Because most studies use a single point of data collection to determine the types of foods that are present in the home, which can miss the change in availability within a month and when resources are not available, the primary objective of this pilot study was to examine the feasibility and value of conducting weekly in-home assessments of household food resources over the course of one month among low-income Mexicano families in Texas colonias.

Methods: We conducted five in-home household food inventories over a thirty-day period in a small convenience sample; determined the frequency that food items were present in the participating households; and compared a one-time measurement with multiple measurements.After the development and pre-testing of the 252-item culturally and linguistically- appropriate household food inventory instrument that used direct observation to determine the presence and amount of food and beverage items in the home (refrigerator, freezer, pantry, elsewhere), two trained promotoras recruited a convenience sample of 6 households; administered a baseline questionnaire (personal info, shopping habits, and food security); conducted 5 in-home assessments (7-day interval) over a 30-day period; and documented grocery shopping and other food-related activities within the previous week of each in-home assessment. All data were collected in Spanish. Descriptive statistics were calculated for mean and frequency of sample characteristics, food-related activities, food security, and the presence of individual food items. Due to the small sample size of the pilot data, the Friedman Test and Kendall's W were used to assess the consistency of household food supplies across multiple observations.

Results: Complete data were collected from all 6 Mexicano women (33.2y +/- 3.3; 6.5 +/- 1.5 adults/children in household (HH); 5 HH received weekly income; and all were food insecure. All households purchased groceries within a week of at least four of the five assessments. The weekly presence and amounts of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, meats, breads, cereals, beverages, and oils and fats varied. Further, the results revealed the inadequacy of a one-time measurement of household food resources, compared with multiple measures. The first household food inventory as a one-time measure would have mistakenly identified at least one-half of the participant households without fresh fruit, canned vegetables, dairy, protein foods, grains, chips, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Conclusions: This study highlights the value of documenting weekly household food supplies, especially in households where income resources may be more volatile. Clearly, the data show that a single HFI may miss the changes in availability--presence and amount--that occur among low-income Mexicano households who face challenges that require frequent purchase of foods and beverages. Use of multiple household food inventories can inform the development and implementation of nutrition-related policies and culturally sensitive nutrition education programs.

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Pictures taken by promotoras show the change in refrigerator food in family #1 during weeks 1, 2, and 3.
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Figure 1: Pictures taken by promotoras show the change in refrigerator food in family #1 during weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Mentions: The photographs in figures 1 and 2 visually depict week-to-week change in refrigerator and cabinet contents in two of the participant households. Figure 1 shows pictures of the inside of the refrigerator taken in one family during the first three household food inventories. Whole milk was available during the first and third inventories; but not on the second, when low-fat milk was present for the only time during the month. In the same household, lettuce was available on during the first two inventories, not on the third. Figure 2 shows the inside of the same pantry in family #3 during the first four HFIs. The presence of dried beans, canned vegetables, and breakfast cereal was not consistent.


Using direct observations on multiple occasions to measure household food availability among low-income Mexicano residents in Texas colonias.

Sharkey JR, Dean WR, St John JA, Huber JC - BMC Public Health (2010)

Pictures taken by promotoras show the change in refrigerator food in family #1 during weeks 1, 2, and 3.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2921392&req=5

Figure 1: Pictures taken by promotoras show the change in refrigerator food in family #1 during weeks 1, 2, and 3.
Mentions: The photographs in figures 1 and 2 visually depict week-to-week change in refrigerator and cabinet contents in two of the participant households. Figure 1 shows pictures of the inside of the refrigerator taken in one family during the first three household food inventories. Whole milk was available during the first and third inventories; but not on the second, when low-fat milk was present for the only time during the month. In the same household, lettuce was available on during the first two inventories, not on the third. Figure 2 shows the inside of the same pantry in family #3 during the first four HFIs. The presence of dried beans, canned vegetables, and breakfast cereal was not consistent.

Bottom Line: Further, the results revealed the inadequacy of a one-time measurement of household food resources, compared with multiple measures.Clearly, the data show that a single HFI may miss the changes in availability--presence and amount--that occur among low-income Mexicano households who face challenges that require frequent purchase of foods and beverages.Use of multiple household food inventories can inform the development and implementation of nutrition-related policies and culturally sensitive nutrition education programs.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, MS 1266, College Station, TX, USA. jrsharkey@srph.tamhsc.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: It has been recognized that the availability of foods in the home are important to nutritional health, and may influence the dietary behavior of children, adolescents, and adults. It is therefore important to understand food choices in the context of the household setting. Considering their importance, the measurement of household food resources becomes critical.Because most studies use a single point of data collection to determine the types of foods that are present in the home, which can miss the change in availability within a month and when resources are not available, the primary objective of this pilot study was to examine the feasibility and value of conducting weekly in-home assessments of household food resources over the course of one month among low-income Mexicano families in Texas colonias.

Methods: We conducted five in-home household food inventories over a thirty-day period in a small convenience sample; determined the frequency that food items were present in the participating households; and compared a one-time measurement with multiple measurements.After the development and pre-testing of the 252-item culturally and linguistically- appropriate household food inventory instrument that used direct observation to determine the presence and amount of food and beverage items in the home (refrigerator, freezer, pantry, elsewhere), two trained promotoras recruited a convenience sample of 6 households; administered a baseline questionnaire (personal info, shopping habits, and food security); conducted 5 in-home assessments (7-day interval) over a 30-day period; and documented grocery shopping and other food-related activities within the previous week of each in-home assessment. All data were collected in Spanish. Descriptive statistics were calculated for mean and frequency of sample characteristics, food-related activities, food security, and the presence of individual food items. Due to the small sample size of the pilot data, the Friedman Test and Kendall's W were used to assess the consistency of household food supplies across multiple observations.

Results: Complete data were collected from all 6 Mexicano women (33.2y +/- 3.3; 6.5 +/- 1.5 adults/children in household (HH); 5 HH received weekly income; and all were food insecure. All households purchased groceries within a week of at least four of the five assessments. The weekly presence and amounts of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, meats, breads, cereals, beverages, and oils and fats varied. Further, the results revealed the inadequacy of a one-time measurement of household food resources, compared with multiple measures. The first household food inventory as a one-time measure would have mistakenly identified at least one-half of the participant households without fresh fruit, canned vegetables, dairy, protein foods, grains, chips, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Conclusions: This study highlights the value of documenting weekly household food supplies, especially in households where income resources may be more volatile. Clearly, the data show that a single HFI may miss the changes in availability--presence and amount--that occur among low-income Mexicano households who face challenges that require frequent purchase of foods and beverages. Use of multiple household food inventories can inform the development and implementation of nutrition-related policies and culturally sensitive nutrition education programs.

Show MeSH