Environmental, parental, and personal influences on food choice, access, and overweight status among homeless children

Rickelle Richards, Chery Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

In-depth interviews were conducted with homeless children (n=56, aged 6-13 years) in an urban center in Minnesota, USA, to determine factors influencing food choice, food access, and weight status, with interview questions developed using the Social Cognitive Theory. Interview transcripts were coded and then evaluated both collectively and by weight status (<85th percentile=normal weight vs. ≥85th percentile=overweight). Forty-five percent of children were overweight. Environmental, parental, and personal factors emerged as common themes influencing food access and choice. Despite children's personal food preferences, homelessness and the shelter environment created restrictive conditions that influenced food choice and access. Shelter rules, lack of adequate storage and cooking facilities, and limited food stores near the shelter, impacted the type and quality of food choices, ultimately affecting hunger, weight status, and perceived health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1572-1583
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume65
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007

Keywords

  • Environment
  • Food access
  • Homeless children
  • Overweight
  • Qualitative research
  • USA

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