Sources and Dietary Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables among Low Income Latinos in South Texas

By Catherine Faver and Tina Schiefelbein.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 28, 2014 $US5.00

Nutritional gardening is a strategy to increase consumption of produce among low-income populations, thereby reducing the risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases. To assess produce consumption and interest in nutritional gardening, interviews were conducted with 100 low-income adults residing in a south Texas county where the population is predominantly Latino and rates of poverty and obesity are high. Respondents consumed an average of 2 servings of fruit and 1.75 servings of vegetables daily, including less than one-half serving of green vegetables. Grocery stores were the primary source of produce. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents grew some of their own food, and 67% of those who grew no food expressed interest in doing so. Those who grew food consumed approximately one more serving of fruits and vegetables combined than those who did not grow food. Almost two-thirds of the respondents were interested in participating in a community gardening program, but obstacles included caregiver responsibilities and lack of time and transportation. Given the favorable climate conditions in the region, programs to encourage nutritional home gardening may be an effective and relatively inexpensive strategy to increase consumption of fresh produce among low-income Latinos in this and similar regions.

Keywords: Fruit and Vegetable Intake, Nutritional Gardening, Latinos, Poverty

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2014, pp.47-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 28, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 297.240KB)).

Dr. Catherine Faver

Professor, Department of Social Work, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, USA

Catherine A. Faver, PhD, MSSW, is a professor of social work at the University of Texas—Pan American. She earned her doctoral degree in social work and sociology from the University of Michigan and her MSSW from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has held previous faculty appointments at the University of Tennessee and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Tina Schiefelbein

Social Worker, South Texas Behavioral Health Center, Edinburg, Texas, USA

Tina Schiefelbein, LMSW, completed her graduate degree in social work at the University of Texas—Pan American (UTPA) in July, 2013. While pursuing her MSSW degree, she served as a graduate research assistant in the UTPA College of Health Sciences and Human Services. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of Alabama. She is currently employed at South Texas Behavioral Health Center in Edinburg, Texas.