Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Objectives : The “Most Diabetes and Health Friendly Shelves” initiative was designed to help choice food pantry clients improve their food choices to prevent or manage diabetes or other diet-related chronic diseases. The objective of this study was to assess perceptions about the initiative and any changes in food choices and shopping behaviors after the initiative was implemented at a choice food pantry.
A cross sectional quantitative study was conducted using a self-administered survey. Fifty food pantry clients completed the survey after eight months of implementing the initiative at an urban choice food pantry. The “Most Diabetes and Health Friendly Shelves,”sections of food shelves at a choice food pantry, contained healthier food options and they were marked with green tape and magnets. The goal of the initiative was to facilitate clients to choose healthier food options in an easy and quick way. A poster to introduce the initiative was hung and an education brochure was distributed to clients. The survey was composed of demographics and 47 questions on perceptions about the initiative and food choices and shopping behaviors at the food pantry as well as the grocery store. Descriptive statistics were conducted using SPSS.
The majority of participants were non-Hispanic white (58%), females (58%). Less than half (44%) had high blood pressure and one-quarter (24%) had diabetes. Most participants (72%) perceived the shelves as helpful in managing or preventing diet related chronic diseases. The poster and brochure were perceived easy/very easy to use (55%, 63%) and understand (78%, 88%), respectively. The most frequently reported food items taken from the shelves included canned vegetables (82%), canned fruit (80%), and beans (74%). Participants reported that they started reading Nutrition Facts labels (44%, 50%) and selecting low-sodium (42%, 34%) or low-sugar options (30%, 22%), whole grain foods (30%, 20%), and fresh produce (36%, 32%) at the pantry and grocery store, respectively, after the implementation of the initiative.
Findings suggested that most participants were receptive to the “Most Diabetes and Health Friendly Shelves” initiative and it had potential to lead to positive changes in food selections and shopping behaviors in choice food pantry clients.
Funding Sources :
The Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training, Partnership Development Grant