Date of Award

8-13-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Dr. Murungi Ndirangu

Abstract

Background: Despite the growing evidence of the positive effects of fruit consumption on health, many individuals do not consume the recommended dietary guideline amounts. It has been suggested that socioeconomic status and income have an influence on food choices and consumption. The aim of this study is not only to examine whether payment structure has an association with food choices but also to assess fruit consumption independent of vegetables in the US.

Methods: The 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System was utilized and the study design led to a sample size that was n= 19,122 respondents. Variables that were selected for associations with sufficient fruit consumption included demographic data, employment status, payment structure, education, and home ownership status. A p-value of <0.05 and 95% confidence intervals were used to determine statistical significance of the analyses performed.

Results: Factors that were associated with greater odds of sufficient fruit consumption included being African-American, education- all levels of high school graduate and higher, all income categories above $15,000 annually, those employed, and those who rent a home (p-value<0.01). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that respondents' education defined as having college education was associated with increased odds of sufficient fruit consumption (OR = 7.09: CI =1.86-27.09] (p-value<0.01).

Conclusions: Assessing fruit consumption alone did not provide greater insight on sufficiency with the exception of race's (specifically African American) influence. Payment structure was found not associated with increased fruit consumption. Promotion of education on the relevance of fruit consumption to overall health is critical and necessary in the United States.

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