International Journal of Food Research
ISSN: 2056-9734
Vol. 5(1), pp. 1-12, January 2018



Healthier communities in food deserts: Indications for reinforcing health education and promotion, especially in disadvantaged populations

Fayomi Agboola*, R. Patti Herring, Naomi Modeste, Daniel Handysides, Mark Ghamsary and Keiji Oda

School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, 24951 North Circle Drive, Loma Linda, CA., 92350.

*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: yomiagboolatoks@yahoo.com, fagboola@ph.lacounty.gov.

Received 21 November, 2017; Received in revised form 26 December, 2017; Accepted 02 January, 2018.

Abstract


Keywords:
Farmshare, Food network, Grounded theory, Retail food Environment index.


In a constantly evolving and fast-paced world where healthy foods are scarce and where available food options are not necessarily healthful, identifying healthy alternatives may be apt. Community supported agriculture Farmshare (CSA-F) programs in food desert areas in San Bernardino, California, USA was explored to augment available food options. In this eight-week mixed, longitudinal, quasi-experimental study with non-equivalent groups, 76 intervention participants received once-weekly Farmshare produce, 1 h health-education class, and participated in a 1 h weekly physical-activity (PA). Comparison participants (n=106) attended a once-weekly 1 h PA. Utilizing concepts from the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and grounded theory (GT), a research question was posed as: “How do CSA-F participants’ behavioral intentions (BI), attitudes (ATT) and perceived behavioral control (PBC) for fruit and vegetable consumption differ from non-participants?”. Intervention participants’ PBC and BI scores improved significantly (PBC p=<0.001; BI p=<0.001); however, comparison participants’ attitudes to healthy eating appeared to need significant reinforcement (p=0.02). Barriers that influence interviewed participants’ produce choices as reported include: cost, time (preparation), accessibility, preferences and lack of awareness on benefits of healthy living. In improving healthy food access, enlightenment on long-term benefits of healthier eating and economic limitations were indicated as issues of primary concerns in noted disadvantaged populations. When social determinants of health are limiting, continual reinforcing through health education/promotion efforts on relevant health benefits of healthier living are highly recommended.

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