Nutrition diet

Pantries Can Help Improve Nutrition and Food Quality


Heather Eicher-Miller, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the College of Health and Human Sciences and Director of the Indiana Emergency Food Resource Network (photo by Purdue University) Download Image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – According to the US Department of Agriculture, more than 37 million people nationwide live in food insecure households. For those who visit pantries, the frequency of their visits is important.

That’s the conclusion of a study conducted by a nutrition specialist at Purdue University who studies food insecurity and access to adequate and safe food.

Heather Eicher-Miller, associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the College of Health and Human Sciences and director of Indiana’s Emergency Food Resource Network, led a research team that examined diets and health issues affecting 270 participants in 27 Indiana pantries. . The team’s study appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Food quality was higher for those who used the pantry more frequently,” Eicher-Miller said. “The quality of the diet is an important risk factor for chronic diseases, so it can potentially have an impact on health. “

Study participants had very poor food quality scores, well below that of the average American, meaning the variety and types of foods they ate were well below dietary recommendations.

The quality of the diet is linked to chronic diseases and their risk factors, such as hypertension, obesity and high cholesterol. Having these risk factors increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other health problems. The study showed that groups who had less access to food were more likely to have heart disease.

“All of the food groups are important and provide essential nutrients, so all of them are essential,” said Eicher-Miller. “We determined that those who visited pantries more than once a month ate a healthier mix of foods or variety and quality compared to those who visited less often.”

Eicher-Miller said giving cash is preferred by most pantries because it allows more flexibility in purchasing certain foods that they know are frequently chosen and used by families.

“If you are specifically interested in donating food, items with little added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium, which are nutrients all Americans should limit, can help improve the dietary quality of the foods offered in the daycare. -eat, “Eicher-Miller said. .

“A pantry’s inventory can change dramatically depending on the donations or shipments they receive. Many donations from businesses and organizations, including grocery stores and government agencies, may give them a large amount of certain items. “

Yibin Liu of the University of Buffalo, Yumin Zhang of Purdue University and Daniel T. Remley of Ohio State University participated in this study. This research was funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

Writer: Matthew Oates, 765-496-2571, [email protected], @mo_oates

Source: Heather Eicher-Miller, 765-494-6815, [email protected]

Note to journalists: For a copy of the study, please contact Matthew Oates at [email protected]

Frequency of pantry use is associated with diet quality among Indiana pantry customers

Yibin Liu, PhD, CPH; Yumin Zhang, MS; Daniel T. Remley, MSPH, PhD; Heather A. Eicher-Miller, PhD

Background: Food insecure households access pantries to receive additional food, but limited examination of the relationships between pantry use or household food insecurity with food quality and health has been documented among pantry users.

Goal: This study examined associations between pantry use, household food security, body mass index, self-reported chronic diseases and related conditions, and diet quality among pantry users. to eat.

Design: Users of the central Indiana pantry were recruited for this cross-sectional study and asked about socio-demographic characteristics, frequency of pantry use, household food security, diet quality and chronic diseases and related conditions. Height and weight measurements were obtained.

Participants / frame: Data for 270 participants, aged 21 to 80, were collected from June 2014 to December 2015.

Statistical analyzes carried out: The total score, component scores and body mass index of the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) were analyzed in the pantry use and household food security groups at using multiple linear regression. The probabilities of reporting chronic diseases and related conditions were compared between the pantry use and household food security groups using logistic regression.

Results: Visiting pantries more than once per month was associated with a higher HEI-2010 total score (P1⁄40.03) and Total Protein Foods score (P1⁄40.05) than visiting less often. HEI-2010 scores were not significantly different between household food security groups. Body mass index was not different between pantry use groups or household food security groups. Household food insecurity was associated with higher odds of reporting heart disease (odds ratio adjusted for age and sex1⁄42.65; 95% CI: 1.05-6.69) compared to household food security.

Conclusion: The frequency of pantry use differentiates the quality of the diet, and the household food security status differentiates chronic diseases and related conditions among subpopulations of low-resource pantry users.


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