Using direct observations on multiple occasions to measure household food availability among low-income Mexicano residents in Texas colonias
Published Date:Jul 29 2010
Source:BMC Public Health. 2010; 10:445.
Pubmed Central ID:PMC2921392
Funding:# U48 DP-000045-01SI/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
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.
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.
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.
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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