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Open Access Chronic Health Condition Influences on Client Perceptions of Limited or Non-choice Food Pantries in Low-income, Rural Communities

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Objectives: Food insecurity and diet-related chronic health conditions are interrelated problems in rural communities. The population facing such outcomes may rely on food pantries as a way to gain access to food. Many food pantries use a traditional distribution model that restricts choice. Yet, dietary recommendations and the need to economize food resources place many challenges on households. In this research, we sought to determine whether clients self-reporting chronic health conditions in their households have unique perceptions about food pantries and their ability to meet needs. Methods: We surveyed clients (N = 612) of limited or non-choice rural pantries, each representing a unique household. We classified clients into 3 groups: no chronic condition; one chronic condition or more, but no diabetes; one chronic condition or more including diabetes. We compared group perceptions of pantries. Results: All conditions desired more choice, and more preference for certain food groups such as produce and dairy. Clients with chronic conditions and diabetes in their household had a greater percentage of negative comments about the choices offered and were less comfortable talking to volunteers. Conclusions: Rural pantries may serve clients with chronic health conditions by offering client choice and by engaging with them regarding needs and preferences.
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Keywords: CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS; CLIENT-CHOICE FOOD PANTRIES; DIABETES; FOOD INSECURITY; FOOD PANTRY PERCEPTIONS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Piketon, OH;, Email: [email protected] 2: Associate Professor and Extension Nutrition Specialist, University of Nebraska Extension-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 3: Assistant Professor, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 4: Associate Professor, Purdue University, Lafayette, IN

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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