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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(18)2022 Sep 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2071382

ABSTRACT

In recent years, national and local efforts to improve diet and health in the United States have stressed the importance of nutrition security, which emphasizes consistent access to foods and beverages that promote health and prevent disease among all individuals. At the core of this endeavor is fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption, a dietary practice that is integral to attaining and sustaining a healthy diet. Unfortunately, significant inequities in FV accessibility, purchasing, and consumption exist, particularly among populations that are socially and economically disadvantaged. To achieve nutrition and health equity in the United States, the field must center the goal of nutrition security and initiatives that aim to increase FV consumption, specifically, in future work. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) Special Issue titled "Nutrition and Health Equity: Revisiting the Importance of Fruit and Vegetable Availability, Purchasing, and Consumption" features several scholarly publications from experts conducting timely research on these topics. In this commentary, we (1) summarize the U.S.-based literature on inequities in FV accessibility, purchasing, and consumption, (2) describe how the contributions to this IJERPH special issue can advance nutrition security and health equity, and (3) outline future research questions from our perspective.


Subject(s)
Health Equity , Vegetables , Diet , Feeding Behavior , Fruit , Health Promotion , Humans , United States
2.
J Nutr Sci ; 11: e64, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1972473

ABSTRACT

Marketing influences consumers' dietary purchases. However, little is known about marketing environments in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-authorised stores. The present study explored SNAP-authorised store marketing environments in Louisiana by rurality, store ownership and store type (n 42). Sampling methods were designed to include randomly selected stores in each geographic area of the state. The GroPromo was used to measure placement, promotion, and child-focused aspects of marketing strategies used for healthier (fruits and vegetables) and less healthy products (chips, candy, sugar-sweetened beverages, child-focused cereal) in medium- and high-prominence marketing areas. In using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) (P < 0⋅05) for data analysis, variations in GroPromo scores were found among SNAP-authorised stores by rurality (P < 0⋅05) and store ownership (P < 0⋅001); no differences were found by store type (P > 0⋅05). Future research, practice and policy strategies are required to understand the influence of marketing environments on SNAP participants' dietary quality and to design responsive public health interventions.


Subject(s)
Food Assistance , Beverages , Commerce , Food Supply , Humans , Marketing , Poverty
3.
Prev Med Rep ; 28: 101830, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1851948

ABSTRACT

Little is known about the differences in dietary practices among food secure and food insecure populations during the early COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in dietary practices the early COVID-19 pandemic restrictions between adults reporting food security versus food insecurity. An online cross-sectional survey using validated measures was administered between April and September 2020 to explore both dietary patterns and practices and food security status among persons residing in five U.S. states from different regions of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between-group differences (food secure versus food insecure) were examined for dietary practice outcomes using Pearson's Chi-Square test statistic, with Fisher's Exact test for cell counts less than five. There were 3,213 adult respondents. Food insecurity increased among the survey sample from 15.9% before the COVID-19 pandemic to 23.1% during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (p < 0.01). Compared to food secure respondents, those experiencing food insecurity reported more group gatherings for meals during the pandemic, decreased fruit and vegetable intake, and a need for more nutrition support resources than food secure respondents (p < 0.05). Food secure individuals reported increasing alcohol consumption, more frequent take-out or delivery ordering from fast food or restaurants, and more interest in supporting the local food system (p < 0.05). Results indicate a clear risk of disparities in dietary practices based on food security status during the early COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Public health research, practice, and policy efforts should tailor specific efforts towards both food secure and food insecure groups.

4.
Prev Med Rep ; 24: 101578, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440295

ABSTRACT

Healthy food retail strategies are delivered by Cooperative Extension Services in Louisiana to improve public health among communities with lower income. To guide Cooperative Extension Services Programming, the aim of this study was to assess healthy food access among SNAP-authorized stores. This included comparing the availability, affordability, and quality of healthy foods sold in these stores by geography, ownership, and store type. Seventy-five Louisiana SNAP-authorized stores were selected for measurement. Between October 2019 and March 2020 (prior to the COVID-19 national emergency declaration), trained researchers used the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey in Stores (NEMS-S) to assess the availability, affordability, and quality of healthy versus less healthy foods and beverages in 42 SNAP-authorized stores, including: grocery (n = 12, 29%), convenience (n = 17, 41%), drug (n = 1, 2%), dollar (n = 11, 26%), and butcher/meat (n = 1, 2%). Multivariate analysis of variance (a priori, p < 0.05) determined if differences in total NEMS-S scores or subscores existed by geography (urban versus rural), ownership (corporate/chain versus independent), or store type. No urban/rural differences were identified. Corporate/chain SNAP-authorized stores scored higher on average than independent SNAP-authorized stores for the total NEMS-S score (17.2 versus 8.1; p = 0.009) and availability subscore (13.1 versus 6.1; p = 0.02). SNAP-authorized grocery stores scored higher than all other store types (total NEMS-S score 27.6), followed by SNAP-authorized dollar stores (total NEMS-S score 10.7), and SNAP-authorized convenience stores (total NEMS-S score 5) (p < 0.001). Louisiana Cooperative Extension Services should explore ways to scale healthy food retail strategies statewide with a specific emphasis on independent and smaller SNAP-authorized retailers.

5.
Prev Med Rep ; 24: 101537, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1410746

ABSTRACT

The objectives of this paper are to investigate: 1) how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced both physical activity practices and mental health status, and 2) to assess the relationship between the two. Our mixed-methods study draws on 4,026 online survey responses collected between April - September 2020 across five states (Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon and West Virginia). Logistic regression models were run for two outcome variables (physical activity and mental health status (measured using the Kessler Psychological Distress scale)). Researchers controlled for race/ethnicity, household income/size, gender, urbanicity, education, employment, use of government assistance and presence of chronic health conditions. Qualitative analysis was applied to open-ended survey responses to contextualize quantitative findings. Household income was significant in predicting difficulty maintaining pre-pandemic physical activity levels; pre-pandemic physical activity levels were associated with increased psychological distress levels during COVID-19; and race/ethnicity, income status and urbanicity were significantly associated with deteriorating mental health status and physical activity levels during COVID-19. Data suggests that a bi-directional, cyclical relationship between physical activity and mental health exists. Policy implications should include physical activity promotion as a protective factor against declining mental health.

6.
BMC Public Health ; 20(1): 1922, 2020 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-992466

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Individual perceptions of personal and national threats posed by COVID-19 shaped initial response to the pandemic. The aim of this study was to investigate the changes in residents' awareness about COVID-19 and to characterize those who were more aware and responsive during the early stages of the pandemic in Louisiana. METHODS: In response to the mounting threat of COVID-19, we added questions to an ongoing food preference study held at Louisiana State University from March 3rd through March 12th, 2020. We asked how likely it was that the spread of the coronavirus will cause a national public health crisis and participants' level of concern about contracting COVID-19 by attending campus events. We used regression and classification tree analysis to identify correlations between these responses and (a) national and local COVID case counts; (b) personal characteristics and (c) randomly assigned information treatments provided as part of the food preference study. RESULTS: We found participants expressed a higher likelihood of an impending national crisis as the number of national and local confirmed cases increased. However, concerns about contracting COVID-19 by attending campus events rose more slowly in response to the increasing national and local confirmed case count. By the end of this study on March 12th, 2020 although 89% of participants agreed that COVID-19 would likely cause a public health crisis, only 65% of the participants expressed concerns about contracting COVID-19 from event attendance. These participants were significantly more likely to be younger students, in the highest income group, and to have participated in the study by responding to same-day, in-person flyer distribution. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide initial insights about the perceptions of the COVID-19 public health crisis during its early stages in Louisiana. We concluded with suggestions for universities and similar institutions as in-person activities resume in the absence of widespread vaccination.


Subject(s)
Attitude to Health , COVID-19 , Disease Susceptibility/psychology , Health Behavior , Public Health , Adolescent , Adult , Female , Food Preferences/psychology , Humans , Louisiana/epidemiology , Male , Perception , Regression Analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Students/psychology , Surveys and Questionnaires , Universities , Young Adult
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