Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
ISSN (Print): 2333-1119 ISSN (Online): 2333-1240 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/jfnr Editor-in-chief: Prabhat Kumar Mandal
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Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2019, 7(7), 514-521
DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-7-7-5
Open AccessArticle

An Investigation of Healthy Food Consumption in Low-Income Families

Pei Liu1, and Heyao Chandler Yu2

1Hospitality Management, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, US

2Hospitality Management, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, US

Pub. Date: July 18, 2019

Cite this paper:
Pei Liu and Heyao Chandler Yu. An Investigation of Healthy Food Consumption in Low-Income Families. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2019; 7(7):514-521. doi: 10.12691/jfnr-7-7-5

Abstract

The highest obesity rates were associated with the lowest incomes and low educational levels. Little is currently known about low-income families’ perceptions about healthy food and their decision-making processes when selecting food items. The purpose of this project was to assess perceptions, determinants, and decision-making processes regarding healthy food choices among low-income families in the U.S. Study participants were recruited from a local food pantry in Ruston, Louisiana in the US from February 2016 to May 2016. Researchers set up a table inside of the food pantry, and participants were asked to complete a written survey during their food pantry visits. A total 153 participants completed the survey. The survey instrument was composed of three sections. The first part consisted of items assessing participants’ attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and intention toward healthy food consumption. The second section included measurement items designed to assess salient beliefs and referents regarding healthy food consumption. The last section consisted of questions related to participants’ social demographic information, including gender, age, race, income level, education level, and self-reported height (feet and inches) and weight (pounds). Descriptive analysis, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and multi-group structural equation modeling were used in the study. Most of the low-income families participating in the study hold positive attitude and high intention towards consuming healthy food (β = 0.730, p < 0.01). For normal-weight, low-income individuals, intention to consume healthy food was only influenced by cost and environmental constraints (β = 0.552, p < 0.01), while perceptions of family members, friends, and health practitioners (β = 0.757, p < 0.01) significantly influenced overweight participants’ intention. Nutrition and health monitoring and assistance are very important for the well-being of overweight low-income residents.

Keywords:
healthy food the theory of planned behavior overweight low-income families

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