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P47 Healthy Meal Kit Program Improved Long-term Food Security Status for African American Families with Low Income

      Background

      Food insecurity is a serious issue in the US, with 10.5% of households experiencing food insecurity in 2019. Food insecurity rates are higher among households with children and those with low income as well as among racial/ethnic minorities. Creative approaches to improving food security status (FSS) are needed. Meal kits have become a popular service for households with higher income and may help improve food access and FSS for households with low income if they are affordable.

      Objective

      To assess the impact of a healthy meal kit program on long-term FSS of African American families with low income.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      A 6-week pilot study was conducted with African American participants with low income (n = 36). Participants were given meal kits, recipe cards, cooking tools, and nutrition handouts. Data were collected at baseline and at long term follow up 6 months post-intervention (LTFU).

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Sociodemographic characteristics were collected with a demographic survey and computed using descriptive statistics. FSS was characterized with the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module, and a paired-samples t test was used to determine whether there was a difference between FSS at baseline and LTFU.

      Results

      Participants were on average 44.1 ± 13.6 years of age, had a household size of 4.2 ± 2.0, were primarily female (90.0%), had an annual household income <$35,000 (75.9%), completed ≤ some college (76.7%), and had food insecurity (70.0%). Food security raw score decreased significantly from baseline to LTFU (6.1 ± 4.8 vs 2.6 ± 3.9, respectively; P = 0.001), indicating an improvement in FSS.

      Conclusion

      Findings suggest the meal kit program helped improve FSS over the long-term, but results should be interpreted with caution due to the lack of a control group. Participants may have learned food resource management strategies to make better use of food dollars. Future interventions should explore the mechanism behind this improvement.
      Funding UF/IFAS Office of Research.

      Appendix. Supplementary data