Food insecurity and food preparation equipment in US households: exploratory results from a cross-sectional questionnaire
Background Food insecurity impacted 15.7% of US households with children in 2017. These households often experience issues such as access, availability, utilization, or stability. However, an underexplored area that can impact food insecurity risk is availability of kitchen equipment in households. Few studies have examined the material resources available to utilize food in meal preparation in the household. This exploratory project aims to quantify household food preparation equipment ownership and use by household food insecurity status. This will utilize a sample of US households that included children, aged 11 to 14 years. Methods Online platform Qualtrics Panel services administered an online questionnaire to existing panel members. This was narrowed down to a sample of 135 parents of children aged 11-14 years. The instrument queried sociodemographic characteristics such as age, sex, ethnicity, and highest level of education completed, among others. It also queried food preparation items owned and frequency of use of 44 items within a 6-month interval. Key findings Households experiencing food insecurity owned an average of five fewer items than their food secure counterparts. They also reported lower item ownership within each equipment category subgroups. These subgroups include large appliances, small appliances, food preparation utensils and cooking utensils. There were no differences between food insecure and food secure households in frequency of use. Conclusion The number of food preparation items owned was lower in food insecure households in the US than food secure households. However, frequency of use was the same. Future projects should investigate how food equipment ownership impacts cooking behaviors. They should also assess whether households experiencing food insecurity display behaviors compensating for a differing set of equipment.
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