The goal of this study is to examine how food environments influence rural childhood obesity rates and food choices, in order to ultimately help policymakers find effective rural policy interventions. Specifically, this research will investigate the community-based healthy food environment (defined as food access, cost and quality for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat food items and whole grain products) in rural low-income Maine communities with high rates of obesity to: 1) incorporate the food environment into a conceptual model for rural childhood obesity; 2) assess how food environments affect eating behaviors and obesity of rural children enrolled in Medicaid/ SCHIP (MaineCare); 3) develop and adapt measures for assessing rural food environments and healthy eating by low-income rural children, and 4) identify policies and programs suitable for improving food environments in rural communities. In addition, qualitative methods will used with children and their parents to explore barriers and supports to healthy eating.
Investigating Access to Affordable Healthy Foods Among Rural Low-Income Children in Maine
This paper examines the association between the rural food environment and rural lower-income children’s food consumption and obesity rates in six rural towns in Maine. Researchers found few significant relationships between the community food environment and the home food environment. A marginally significant relationship was found between the distance parents … More
This article focuses on the food environment and food shopping habits of lower-income residents in rural Maine. Focus groups were conducted with lower-income parents of children enrolled in Medicaid/State Children’s Health Insurance Program in Maine to ask them about their food shopping habits, the barriers they faced when trying to … More
The Impact of Increasing SNAP Benefits on Stabilizing the Economy, Reducing Poverty and Food Insecurity amid COVID-19 Pandemic
With unemployment currently at a record high as a result of COVID-19, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is expected to increase significantly. Congress has already passed three COVID-19 aid bills, which include SNAP provisions such as funding for emergency benefits for SNAP households and program administrative flexibilities. … More