Date of Award
Master of Science
Food and Nutrition
One of the leading causes for Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) in youth is thought to be morbid obesity during adolescence (Pinhas-Hamial 2000). Research suggests that low socioeconomic status (SES) and food insecurity may be associated with T2DM in youth (Bell 2009) and overweight in children (Alaimo 2001, Dubois 2006). Factors that could exacerbate overweight and are associated with low SES include decreased frequency of family meals (Neumark-Sztainer 2003), decreased availability of fruits and vegetables in the home, and decreased consumption of fruit (Lorson 2009). The purpose of this study was to determine whether SES was related to frequency of family meals and/or availability of healthful snacks in the home of young adolescents who are at-risk for T2DM. A secondary purpose was to explore if availability of certain snack foods in the home was related to consumption of those same snack foods in this target population. The higher SES group's attendance rate for the baseline intervention was much greater than the lower SES group (77.8% vs. 39%). Adolescent from the high SES group reported a greater frequency of family meals than did the low SES group (p<0.01). Significantly more parents from the higher SES group reported scheduling conflicts interfere with family meals more often (p<0.05). The low SES group indicated that the home environment was a greater barrier to healthy snacking. However, only one healthy snack was found to be significantly more available in high SES homes (p<0.01). Three ready-to-eat snack items were found to have a significant positive relationship between availability in the home and consumption (p<0.01). This study reveals that interventions in high SES communities seem to be better attended, however low SES adolescents are at particular risk, especially relating to the home environment. It appears that availability of highly accessible, ready-to-eat snacks is strongly related to consumption, but this is not consistent with snacks that require preparation.
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