Study Finds Race, Income, Gender, Other Factors Influence Food Purchase Choices
Race is among many factors -- including gender, income level and access -- that affect individuals' food choices, according to a study published online in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition earlier this month, Southwest Nebraska News reports. For the study, co-authors May Beydoun, a postdoctoral fellow in Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of International Health, and Youfa Wang, an assistant professor at the school, used two USDA surveys comprising responses from 4,356 adults ages 20 to 65. Researchers looked at foods eaten by participants, analyzing energy, energy density, total fat and saturated fat; amount of fruits and vegetables, fiber, calcium and dairy consumed; and overall quality of diet, according to the News. Among other findings, researchers said that lower-income blacks, more than whites in the same income level, considered the price of food to be more important than nutritional value. However, while there was an association between lower socioeconomic status and higher fat and saturated fat intake among whites, the same link did not exist among blacks. Wang said, "Low socioeconomic status may cause a significant food-cost barrier, which in turn, reduces the quality of an individual's diet. Considering the growing obesity crisis, it is important to make healthy foods accessible to poor segments of the population and to empower them to eat a healthy diet by lowering the price of healthy foods and enhancing tailored nutrition education" (Southwest Nebraska News, 3/27). Wang added, "Programs that promote positive attitudes towards the benefits of healthy diets can improve diet quality for both genders and all ethnicities" (Hille, Washington Examiner, 3/28).
An abstract of the study is available online.