Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Marsha L. Spence

Committee Members

Carol Costello, Betty Greer


Background: Childhood obesity is a critical public health problem. There is a crucial need to identify environmental factors that either encourage or prevent obesogenic behaviors. The home food environment is one of the primary environments in which children are exposed to food. Therefore, it is crucial to study how the home food availability influences dietary intake and weight status. Objective: This study examines parental report of household food availability of fruits, vegetables, and milk, and its association with child weight status and child dietary intake of these foods. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study, based on surveys from 489 students in grades 3-12 their parents in 2009. Child participants were Destination ImagiNation® finalists. Child data collection included surveys based on the Youth Risk Surveillance Survey and anthropometric measurements of height and weight used to calculate child z-BMI. Parents self-reported their heights and weights and home food availability. Descriptive statistics were conducted and multiple linear regression was used to predict whether or not a relationship existed between home food availability, child weight status, and dietary intake of fruits, vegetables, and milk. Results: Overall, 12.5% of participants were overweight and 6.7% were obese. Approximately26% of participants consumed 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day and 17% consumed 3 or more glasses of milk per day. However, a no significant relationship was found between home availability of fruits, vegetables, and milk and the reported intake of these foods. Although a significant association was also found between parent and child weight status, no significant association was found between home food availability and child weight status. Conclusions: Compared to national data, a larger proportion of this sample was classified as normal weight and consumed the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables and milk. Parents reported high availability of fruits, vegetables, and milk products. However, no significance was found between the reported availability of these foods and weight status or dietary intake of fruits, vegetables, or milk.

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