The food environment encompasses a variety of settings, including school, work, and home. The home food environment is of particular interest due to the fact that individuals have direct control over what foods and beverages they purchase, store, and ultimately consume in their homes. Despite increasing interest, research in this area is relatively new and many questions regarding the home food environment remain unanswered. The primary aim of this dissertation is to examine more closely two different components within the household context--objective home food availability and family meals--and their associations with individual food choice. Specifically, this paper seeks to provide additional support for a positive association between home food availability and individual food choice using two objective measures of home food availability. Current literature suggests that family meals may also have an impact on individual food choice. Family meals may help improve diet quality by providing a setting for positive role modeling and social support for healthy eating. This dissertation aims to elucidate one potential mechanism underlying the relationship between family meals and food choice: family cohesion. Despite the home food environment's potential influence on individual dietary intake, relatively little is known about the types and amounts of foods that households purchase and store in their homes. Thus, an additional aim of this dissertation is to characterize patterns of objective home food availability using latent class analysis. Data used for this study were collected as part of Take ACTION, a 12-month randomized household weight gain prevention trial (n=90 households) conducted at the University of Minnesota, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. February 2010. Major: Epidemiology. Advisor:
Robert W. Jeffery. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 112 pages, appendices A-B.
Examining the home food environment: observational findings from the Take ACTION study..
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