Low-income Hispanic Women Buy, Eat More Healthy Foods Than Low-Income Blacks, Whites, Study Finds
Low-income Hispanic women are more likely than their black and white counterparts to follow diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Reuters Health reports. The study, led by researcher Sharon Hoerr, a professor of food science and nutrition at Michigan State University, looked at 603 low-income mothers who participate in Head Start programs in Alabama and Texas.
Researchers found that while diets among all women in the study tended to be low in important nutrients, Hispanic women in general consumed more fruits and vegetables than blacks and whites. Hispanic women consumed 4.6 cups of fruits and vegetables daily -- which health experts considered an adequate amount -- while black and white women consumed an average of two to three cups daily. Hispanic women also consumed a lower percentage of daily calories from fat.
According to Reuters, the Hispanic women likely followed a traditional Hispanic diet, which includes more beans, grains and produce than the typical U.S. diet.
Hoerr said that Hispanic women likely "prioritized" fruits and vegetables when they shopped and budgeted. She said the study "refutes the idea that it's impossible" to eat healthy foods on a small budget, adding that low-income families should be taught methods for securing low-cost nutritious food items, such as shopping at farmers' markets or choosing canned or frozen vegetables rather than fresh (Norton, Reuters Health, 5/1).