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Am J Public Health. 1997 February; 87(2): 272–275.
PMCID: PMC1380806

Using a brief household food inventory as an environmental indicator of individual dietary practices.


OBJECTIVES: This study examined whether foods in household pantries are an indicator of house-hold members' diet. METHODS: In a random-digit-dial survey, the presence in the house of 15 high-fat foods was assessed with whoever answered the phone. A randomly selected household member was surveyed about diet-related behaviors (n = 1002). RESULTS: Individuals in the precontemplation stage of dietary change had more high-fat foods in their pantry than those in maintenance (means of 7.4 and 5.8, respectively). Individuals with low-fat pantries had an intake of 32% energy from fat vs 37% for those with high-fat pantries. CONCLUSIONS: Household food inventories are a practical and valid approach to monitoring dietary behaviors in community-based studies.

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