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Food Security Status and Barriers to Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Two Economically Deprived Communities of Oakland, California, 2013–2014
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    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Food security status may moderate how people perceive barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption. This study aimed to 1) describe the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and microbarriers and mezzobarriers to consumption, and 2) test whether these associations differ by food security status.


    We surveyed adults (n = 531) living in 2 economically deprived communities in Oakland, California, in 2013 and 2014. Multivariate linear regression assessed associations between microbarriers (taste, cost, busyness) and mezzobarriers (produce selection, quality, and purchase ease) and fruit and vegetable consumption, derived from a 26-item dietary screener. Interactions were tested by food security status.


    Respondents consumed a mean 2.4 (standard deviation, 1.5) servings of fruits and vegetables daily; 39% of the sample was food insecure. Being too busy to prepare healthy foods was associated with reduced fruit and vegetable consumption (βbusyness = −0.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.52 to −0.28) among all respondents. Food security moderated the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and taste, cost, and perceived ease of purchase of healthy foods. Among the food secure, disliking healthy food taste (βtaste = −0.38; 95% CI, −0.60 to −0.15) and cost (βcost = −0.29; 95% CI, −0.44 to −0.15) concerns were associated with lower consumptions of fruits and vegetables. Mezzobarriers were not significantly associated with consumption in either group.


    Perceived time constraints influenced fruit and vegetable consumption. Taste and cost influenced fruit and vegetable consumption among the food secure and may need to be considered when interpreting analyses that describe dietary intake and designing diet-related interventions.

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