Perceptions of Community Nutrition and Health Needs in the Lower Mississippi Delta: A Key Informant Approach

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Child and Family Studies


Objective: Key informants' perceptions of nutrition and health needs in their southern rural communities were assessed prior to nutrition intervention planning. Design: This cross-sectional survey used in-person interviews. Subjects/Settings: A sample of 490 individuals from 12 professional and lay roles in 8 community sectors in 36 counties in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi was chosen. Statistical Analyses Performed: Factor analysis was carried out on reported food, nutrition, and health problems and contributing factors. The General Linear Models procedure identified within- and between-subject effects for factors. Tukey's post hoc tests identified differences between sectors and states. Frequencies and weighted rankings were computed for health problems. Results: Key informants rated individual-level factors (food choices, education, willingness to change, health behavior) as more important than community-level factors (food and health care access, resources) with regard to nutrition and health problems and contributors to problems. The number one health problem was hypertension. Implications: Key informants are knowledgeable about nutrition and health problems, contributing factors, and available resources. Individual factors were perceived as more important contributors to nutrition and health problems providing valuable information for planning nutrition interventions.

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Journal of Nutrition Education





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