Beverage consumption by poor, lone mother-led, "milk-friendly" families living in Atlantic Canada was characterized over a one-month income cycle.
Beverage intake and food security status were assessed weekly, using a 24-hour dietary recall and the Cornell-Radimer food insecurity questionnaire. Families were classified as "milk friendly" if total consumption of milk was 720 mL on a single day during the month. Beverage intake was assessed using t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), repeated measures ANOVA with post hoc comparisons, and chi-square analysis.
Milk consumption by milk-friendly families (76; total sample, 129) was highest at the time of the month when they had the most money to spend. During all time intervals, mothers consumed the least amount of milk and children aged one to three years consumed the most. Mothers consumed carbonated beverages disproportionately, while children of all ages consumed more fruit juice/drink. Mothers' coffee consumption was profoundly increased when either they or their children were hungry.
The quality of beverage intake by members of low-income households fluctuates in accordance with financial resources available to purchase foods. Mothers' beverage intake is compromised by the degree of food insecurity the family experiences.
Food avoidance is central to the treatment of environmental sensitivity (ES), a chronic, often debilitating, multisystem disorder characterized by adverse reactions to non-noxious levels of environmental substances. Because prolonged food avoidance could impact nutritional health, the purpose of this research was to assess adequacy and quality of diets consumed by women diagnosed with ES.
Twelve women aged 37 to 50 recruited from the Nova Scotia Environmental Health Clinic completed a four-day food record during the spring and summer of 1998.
When adequacy of nutrient intake was assessed by comparison to the Estimated Average Requirement, the most limited nutrients in the diet were folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and magnesium. Only one woman exceeded the Adequate Intake for calcium. When diet quality was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index, the majority of women (75%) scored in the "needs improvement" category; intake of milk and dietary variety scored the lowest. Women consumed very few servings from "other foods", defined in the food guide as foods containing mostly sugar and mostly fat.
The results of this study suggest that women diagnosed with ES would benefit from counselling on ways to increase dietary variety, which would lead to improved nutrient intake, and ways to increase calcium intake.
As part of a larger study on food insecurity and dietary adequacy of low-income lone mothers and their children in Atlantic Canada, we examined diet quality among household members.
Network sampling for 'difficult to sample' populations was used to identify mothers living below the poverty line and alone with at least two children under age 14. Trained dietitians administered 24-hour dietary recalls weekly for one month to mothers on the dietary intake of themselves and their children. We calculated Healthy Eating Index category scores for eligible mothers (129) and children (303) using Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating and the Nutrition Recommendations for Canadians.
Diet quality of low-income lone mothers was poor (35.5%) or in need of improvement (64.5%), with no mother having a good diet. The diet quality of children varied by age, with 22.7% of children aged one to three having a good diet or needing improvement (74.6%), 2.1% of children aged four to eight and no child aged nine to 14 having a good diet, while the diets of about 85% of older children in both age categories needed improvement.
Younger children seem to be protected from poor quality diets in households with limited resources to acquire food.
Women who live in disadvantaged circumstances in Canada exhibit dietary intakes below recommended levels, but their children often do not. One reason for this difference may be that mothers modify their own food intake to spare their children nutritional deprivation. The objective of our study was to document whether or not low-income lone mothers compromise their own diets to feed their children.
We studied 141 low-income lone mothers with at least 2 children under the age of 14 years who lived in Atlantic Canada. Women were identified through community organizations using a variety of recruitment strategies. The women were asked weekly for 1 month to recall their food intake over the previous 24 hours; they also reported their children's (n = 333) food intake. Mothers also completed a questionnaire about "food insecurity," that is, a lack of access to adequate, nutritious food through socially acceptable means, during each interview.
Household food insecurity was reported by 78% of mothers during the study month. Mothers' dietary intakes and the adequacy of intake were consistently poorer than their children's intake overall and over the course of a month. The difference in adequacy of intake between mothers and children widened from Time 1, when the family had the most money to purchase food, to Time 4, when the family had the least money. The children experienced some improvement in nutritional intake at Time 3, which was possibly related to food purchases for them associated with receipt of the Child Tax Benefit Credit or the Goods and Services Tax Credit.
Our study demonstrates that low-income lone mothers compromise their own nutritional intake in order to preserve the adequacy of their children's diets.
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Comment On: CMAJ. 2003 Mar 18;168(6):709-1012642427
To examine the occurrence and predictors of hunger and food insecurity over the past year and month among low-income mother-led households in Atlantic Canada.
The Cornell-Radimer Questionnaire to Estimate the Prevalence of Hunger and Food Insecurity was administered weekly for a month, with modifications, to a community sample of 141 lone mothers who took part in a larger dietary intake study. Eligible women included those living alone with at least two children under the age of 14 years in the four Atlantic Provinces and having an annual income less than or equal to Statistics Canada's low-income cut-off.
Food insecurity over the past year occurred in 96.5% of households. Child hunger was similar to maternal hunger over the one-month study period (23%), however, it was lower than maternal hunger over the past year. On multiple logistic regression analysis, maternal hunger over the past year was predicted by maternal age over 35 years (p
Little is known about how food is managed in households where food resources are scarce. In this study, the household food management behaviours utilized by food-insecure, lone mother-led families from Atlantic Canada were characterized, and relationships among these behaviours and diet quality were examined.
Thematic analysis of 24 in-depth interviews from a larger study of mother-led, low-income families was integrated with sociodemographic characteristics, food-insecurity status, and four weekly 24-hour dietary recalls for all household members to yield a family behaviour score (FBS) as a summative measure of food management behaviours, and a healthy plate score (HPS) as a measure of diet quality.
Five distinct food management behaviours were identified: authoritative, healthism, sharing, structured, and planning behaviours. An increase in the FBS was associated with a proportional increase in the HPS. Authoritative, healthism, and planning food management behaviours were the strongest predictors of the HPS for all household members (p
To examine the prevalence of food insecurity in households with a child with insulin-requiring diabetes mellitus (DM), investigate whether food insecurity is associated with poorer DM control, and describe the household characteristics and coping strategies of food-insecure families with a child with DM.
Telephone interviews were conducted with consecutive consenting families over a 16-month period. Food insecurity was assessed through a validated questionnaire; additional questions elicited demographic information and DM management strategies. Charts were reviewed for hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). Univariate and logistic regression analyses were performed.
A total of 183 families were interviewed. Food insecurity was present in 21.9% (95% confidence interval, 15.87%-27.85%), significantly higher than the overall prevalences in Nova Scotia (14.6%) and Canada (9.2%). Food insecurity was associated with higher HbA1c level; however, in multivariate analysis, only child's age and parents' education were independent predictors of HbA1c. Children from food-insecure families had higher rates of hospitalization, for which food security status was the only independent predictor. Common characteristics and coping strategies of food-insecure families were identified.
Food insecurity was more common in families with a child with DM, and the presence of food insecurity was predictive of the child's hospitalization. Risk factors identified in this study should be used to screen for this problem in families with a child with DM.
Canadian agricultural policy supports higher milk prices. Consequently, poor families lack sufficient funds to purchase adequate quantities of milk. Low-income lone mothers in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia suggested their preferred strategies for improved access to milk. We then built inter-sectoral support for a policy intervention to address their recommendations. Our research-to-action process led to a policy dialogue focusing on an electronic smart card that would permit the delivery of lower-priced milk to poor households. While all agreed that milk insecurity was an important issue, the project ultimately failed because of the entrenched positions of influential stakeholder groups.
Consumers' use and interpretation of trans fat information on food labels were explored.
Consumers completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire in one of three grocery stores selected purposively to represent geographical location. Data analysis involved examining the relationship of age, gender, grocery shopping habits, household size, and source of nutrition information with awareness, use, and interpretation of trans fat information.
Ninety-eight percent (n=239) of participants were aware of trans fat, and most knew of the relationship between trans fat intake and cardiovascular disease. Although the majority of shoppers were aware of the "0 trans fat" nutrition claim on food packages (95%), they were more likely to use the Nutrition Facts panel (60%%) to reduce trans fat intake. Men and consumers under age 40 were least likely to be aware of food label information. While most consumers (75%) correctly interpreted the "0 trans fat" nutrition claim and thought foods with this claim could be healthy choices (64%), only 51% purchased these foods to reduce trans fat intake.
Nutrition professionals should target messages to reduce trans fat intake at men and consumers under age 40. While general knowledge was good, further education is required to help consumers interpret trans fat information.