Impact of Stress on Food Based Routines in Families from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds

Hira Ali, Riya Chhabra, Shraddha Jadhav, Kristine Durkin, Kobra Eghtedary, Mark Greenwald, Elizabeth Towner Hira Ali, Department of Public Health, Wayne State University, 656 W. Kirby St., Detroit, MI 48202 Riya Chhabra, Department of Public Health, Wayne State University, 656 W. Kirby St., Detroit, MI 48202 Shraddha Jadhav, Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, 5057 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202 Kristine Durkin, Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506-6040 Kobra Eghtedary, South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control, Bureau of Health Improvement & Equity Mark Greenwald, Tolan Park Medical Building, Suite 2A, Room 225, 3901 Chrysler Service Drive, Detroit, 48201 Elizabeth Towner, Department of Family Medicine & Public Health Sciences, Wayne State University, 6135 Woodward Ave., H206 Detroit, MI 48201

Food access and education are barriers to healthy eating for families from low-SES backgrounds. In our formative work with this population, caregivers described needing to learn strategies for budgeting, purchasing, and cooking to improve dietary quality. This secondary data analysis examines what time and cost-saving food-based routines and strategies caregivers from low-SES backgrounds are using and how stress may impact their use. Caregivers(N=34) were recruited from WIC clinics as part of a larger study on risk factors of preschooler obesity within low-SES populations. Caregivers were all female with a mean age of 34.48+7.53 years. Most(88%) identified as African-American. Caregivers completed the Perceived Stress Scale and were categorized as high/low stress based upon median split of the Total Score(range 0-56). Caregivers also noted use of 23 time and cost-saving food-based routines and strategies. Descriptive analyses were applied to examine strategy use for the sample overall and to explore differences by caregiver stress level. Caregivers endorsed using an average of 3.06+0.40 routines and strategies. The most frequently used routines and strategies were purchasing sale items(76%), serving the same meal to all family members(71%), freezing food(56%), and serving leftovers(56%). Overall, caregivers reported similar patterns of routine and strategy utilization irrespective of stress level. However, rates were higher by 4> caregivers in the low vs. high stress group for five routines and strategies: makes healthy meals with a few ingredients, serves leftovers, serving the same meal to all family members, buying food in bulk, and making groceries stretch across the month. Our findings suggest caregivers from low-SES backgrounds use few time and cost-savings routines and strategies, and that stress does not impact use patterns. Future research should examine strategies for engaging families from lower-SES backgrounds in utilizing time and cost-saving strategies to promote healthier eating. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Hira Ali, Riya Chhabra, Shraddha Jadhav

Institution: Wayne State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Nursing & Public Health

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 9
Date/Time: Wed 12:00pm-1:00pm
Session Number: 6033