Research brief| Volume 40, ISSUE 2, P102-109, March 2008

Perceptions of Factors Influencing Healthful Food Consumption Behavior in the Lower Mississippi Delta: Focus Group Findings



      To identify perceptions of Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD) residents regarding factors that influence a change in healthful food consumption behavior to assist in planning sustainable nutrition interventions in the LMD.


      Nine focus groups were conducted with LMD residents in 9 counties in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. One focus group was held in each county on the topical area of behavioral change.


      Nine counties in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.


      The study population included 91 persons, 85 females and 6 males (18-60+ years of age), of whom 71 were African Americans, 17 were Caucasians, and 3 were Hispanics, who participated in the focus group discussions.


      Data analyses were completed by general and specific content coding. Data were reviewed for emerging themes for each topic. The Social Cognitive Theory served as the framework for understanding the determinants of a change in healthful food consumption behavior.


      The study showed considerable variability in perceptions that are influenced by both personal and external factors. These factors include health concerns, family influence, and need for and availability of nutrition information. Participants were interested in learning about healthful eating, food preparation skills, and portion control.


      Focus groups in the LMD identified many important themes relevant to the development of nutrition interventions in these communities. These data will be used to guide the community-based participatory interventions that will be developed and implemented in the LMD. The findings could be applicable to other researchers designing interventions for similar populations.

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