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Int J Food Sci Nutr. 1999 May;50(3):173-87.

Feast or famine? Supplemental food programs and their impacts on two American Indian communities in California.

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Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


This article examines the use of supplemental food programs by two Native American populations and assesses some of the health and cultural impacts of these programs. A cross-sectional survey of 80 American Indian families, 40 families residing on the Round Valley Indian Reservation and 40 in Sacramento, California was conducted to determine access, use and appropriateness of supplemental feeding programs. Respondents at both the rural and urban geographic location showed considerable familiarity with available supplemental feeding programs. USDA Food Commodities were utilized most at Round Valley, raising the concern that provided staples which were highly processed and contained significant amounts of sodium, sucrose, and fat, could contribute to the problems of obesity and diabetes. Native Americans in Sacramento used food banks and food closets as their primary source of supplemental foods, and some expressed concern that the foods provided were highly sweetened and high in fat. While some nutrition advising was available at both geographical localities, access was inadequate. The study found that the foods provided by the supplemental food programs varied considerably in their nutritional quality and healthier foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats were either completely lacking or in short supply. In addition, culturally sensitive nutritional counseling and the development of education modules to instruct program recipients in the preparation of healthy meals and how to manage obesity and diabetes were needed and requested within the California Native American communities surveyed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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