Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
The “Most Diabetes and Health Friendly Shelves” initiative was developed to assist choice food pantry clients improve food choices to prevent or manage diabetes or other diet-related chronic conditions. The objective this study was to explore the feasibility and acceptability of the program and its impact on food choices and management of health conditions in food pantry clients and volunteers at an urban food pantry.
A cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted using in-depth interviews. Thirteen pantry clients and six pantry volunteers completed the study after 9 months of the initiative beginning. Semi-structured questions were used to explore the overall perceptions of the shelves and the impact of the initiative on shopping and eating habits and diet-related chronic disease management. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded by two researchers independently using NVivo 12. Major themes were identified and summarized.
Results : More than half of clients interviewed were female (n=7), with most being Non-Hispanic white (n=8) or Black American (n=5). Less than half had high blood pressure (n=6) and diabetes (n=3). Most clients favored the shelves due to their convenience and overall appealing design. Significant impacts on food choices and shopping behaviors were identified with the common themes: becoming more selective to healthful foods, more aware of the nutritional value of food specifically sugar and sodium content, and more frequently reading Nutrition Fact labels. Several clients conveyed the positive impact the initiative had on management of their or a family members diabetes. On the contrary, a few clients expressed disinterest due to not having diet-related chronic diseases. Volunteers had positive impressions of the shelves suggesting they have encouraged clients to select healthier items, read Nutrition Facts labels more, and become more aware of diet-related chronic diseases.
Our findings suggested the initiative was feasible to be implemented and receptive to pantry clients at an urban choice food pantry. In addition, the initiative was shown to help achieve positive changes to shopping and eating behaviors with the possibility of improving the management of diet-related chronic diseases.
Funding Sources :
The Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training, Partnership Development Grant