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Ecol Food Nutr. 2015;54(4):380-96. doi: 10.1080/03670244.2014.1001982. Epub 2015 Feb 23.

Characteristics of Youth Food Preparation in Low-Income, African American Homes: Associations with Healthy Eating Index Scores.

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a Global Obesity Prevention Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , Baltimore , Maryland , USA.


This study explores food preparation behaviors, including types of food prepared, methods of preparation, and frequency of preparation of low-income urban African American youth ages 9-15 in Baltimore City (n = 289) and analyzes a potential association to diet quality as measured through Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI) scores. Overall, the youth prepared their own food 6.7 ± 0.33 times per week without significant differences between age groups or genders as measured through pairwise comparison of means. Cereal, noodles, and sandwiches were amongst the foods prepared most frequently. Linear regression analysis found youth food preparation frequency was not significantly associated with total HEI (p = 0.59), sodium (p = 0.58), empty calories (p = 0.96), or dairy scores (p = 0.12). Younger age was associated with higher total HEI scores (p = 0.012) and higher dairy scores (p = 0.01) and female gender was associated with higher total HEI scores (p = 0.03), higher sodium scores (p = 0.03), and lower dairy scores (p = 0.008).


Baltimore City; childhood obesity; cooking; diet quality; food preparation; healthy eating index

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