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      An examination of at-home food preparation activity among low-income, food-insecure women.

      Journal of the American Dietetic Association
      Adult, Canada, Cooking, methods, Diet, Energy Intake, Family Characteristics, Female, Food Services, Food Supply, Health Promotion, Humans, Hunger, Income, Mental Recall, Middle Aged, Poverty, United States, Women's Health

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          A secondary analysis of data from a study of nutritional vulnerability among 153 women in families seeking charitable food assistance was undertaken to estimate the extent and nutritional significance of at-home food preparation activity for these women. At-home food preparation was estimated from women's reported food intakes from three 24-hour recalls. The relationships between food preparation and energy and nutrient intake, food intake, and 30-day household food security status were characterized. Almost all participants (97%) consumed foods prepared from scratch at least once during the three days of observation; 57% did so each day. Both the frequency and complexity of at-home food preparation were positively related to women's energy and nutrient intakes and their consumption of fruits and vegetables, grain products, and meat and alternates. The intakes by women in households with food insecurity with hunger reflected less complex food preparation but no less preparation from scratch than women in households where hunger was not evident, raising questions about the extent to which food skills can protect very poor families from food insecurity and hunger. Our findings indicate the need for nutrition professionals to become effective advocates for policy reforms to lessen economic constraints on poor households.

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