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Race/Ethnicity and Income in Relation to the Home Food Environment in US Youth Aged 6 to 19 Years

      Abstract

      Background

      The home food environment is complex and has the potential to influence dietary habit development in young people. Several factors may influence the home food environment, including income and race/ethnicity.

      Objective

      To examine the relationship of income and race/ethnicity with three home food environment factors (ie, food availability frequency, family meal patterns [frequency of family and home cooked meals], and family food expenditures).

      Design

      A cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

      Participants

      A total of 5,096 youth aged 6 to 19 years from a nationally representative sample of US individuals participating in NHANES 2007-10.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Prevalence of food availability frequency was assessed for the entire sample, race/ethnicity, poverty income ratio (PIR), and race/ethnicity stratified by PIR. Mean values of family meal patterns and food expenditures were calculated based on race/ethnicity, PIR, and race/ethnicity stratified by PIR using analysis of variance and least squares means. Tests of main effects were used to assess differences in food availability prevalence and mean values of family meal patterns and food expenditures.

      Results

      Non-Hispanic whites had the highest prevalence of salty snacks (51.1%±1.5%) and fat-free/low-fat milk (39.2%±1.7%) always available. High-income homes had the highest prevalence of fruits (75.4%±2.4%) and fat-free/low-fat milk (38.4%±2.1%) always available. Differences were found for prevalence of food availability when race/ethnicity was stratified by PIR. Non-Hispanic blacks had the lowest prevalence of fat-free/low-fat milk always available across PIR groups. Differences in mean levels of family meal patterns and food expenditures were found for race/ethnicity, PIR, and race/ethnicity stratified by PIR.

      Conclusions

      Race/ethnicity and PIR appear to influence food availability, family meal patterns, and family food expenditures in homes of youth. Knowledge of factors that influence the home food environment could assist in developing effective strategies to improve food environments for young people.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      M. A. Masters is an assistant professor of nutrition, Department of Nutrition, School of Professional Studies, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO; at the time of the study, she was a graduate student, Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

      Biography

      K. L. Stanek Krogstrand is an associate professor emeritus, Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

      Biography

      K. M. Eskridge is a professor, Department of Statistics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

      Biography

      J. A. Albrecht is a professor, Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.