The Effect of Food Insecurity on Fruit/Vegetable Consumption and Body Mass Among Low Income and Minority Adults

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Food insecurity is a public health concern across the United States. It is rooted in poverty and can have long-lasting health consequences on communities (U.S. Agency for International Development, 2021). In 2020, California’s food insecurity rate was 20%, demonstrating that one-fifth of the state’s residents lack access to healthy, nutritious foods (California Association of Food Banks, 2020). This study aimed to examine the effect of food insecurity, specifically cutting, or skipping meals, on variables such as fruit/vegetable consumption and body mass index (BMI) in low income, minority adults, using the 2020 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data. The results showed a significant relationship between cutting or skipping meals and fruit consumption (t (-2.81) = 2381, p = .005). There was also a significant relationship between cutting or skipping meals and BMI (t (3.525) = 2381, p < 0.001). The findings from this study suggest health educators and community agencies should promote food assistance programs in minority communities. Furthermore, interventions need to be tailored to promote healthy eating to different cultures. Public health professionals must advocate for programs that support access to healthy food in underserved communities.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health, Health Education