Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BMC Public Health [electronic resource]








Adolescent; African Americans; Baltimore; Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Diet; Dietary Fiber; Fast Foods; Feeding Behavior; Female; Food Assistance; Fruit; Humans; Intention; Logistic Models; Male; Nutritive Value; Obesity; Odds Ratio; Parents; Poverty; Self Efficacy; Surveys and Questionnaires; Vegetables


BACKGROUND: Childhood obesity, one of the greatest challenges to public health, disproportionately affects low-income urban minority populations. Fruits and vegetables (FV) are nutrient dense foods that may be inversely associated with excessive weight gain. We aimed to identify the individual characteristic, psychosocial, and household factors influencing FV and fiber consumption in low-income African-American (AA) youth in Baltimore, MD.

METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis of data collected from 285 low-income AA caregiver-youth (age range: 10-14 y) dyads participating in the baseline evaluation of the B'More Healthy Communities for Kids obesity prevention trial. The Kid's Block FFQ was used to estimate daily intakes of FV (including 100 % fruit juice) and dietary fiber. Questionnaires were used to assess household socio-demographics, caregiver and youth food purchasing and preparation behavior, and youth psychosocial information. Ordered logit regression analyses were conducted to examine psychosocial and food-related behavior associated with FV and dietary fiber intake (quartile of intake) controlling for youth age, sex, BMI percentile, total calorie intake and household income.

RESULTS: On average, youth consumed 1.5 ± 1.1 (M ± SD) servings of fruit, 1.8 ± 1.7 serving of vegetables, and 15.3 ± 10.9 g of fiber/day. There were no differences by gender, age or household income. Greater youth's healthy eating intentions and self-efficacy scores were associated with greater odds ratio for higher intake of FV and fiber (Intention: ORfruit 1.22; 95 % CI: 1.06-1.41, ORvegetable 1.31; 1.15-1.51 and ORfiber 1.46; 1.23-1.74, Self-efficacy: ORfruit 1.07; 1.03-1.12, ORvegetable 1.04; 1.01-1.09, ORfiber 1.10; 1.04-1.16). Youth receiving free/low-cost breakfast were more than twice as likely to have higher fiber intake than those who did not receive free breakfast (OR 2.7; 1.10; 6.9). In addition, youth shopping more frequently at supermarkets were more likely to have greater vegetable and fiber intake (OR 1.26; 1.06-1.50; OR 1.28; 1.03-1.58, respectively). Also, youth with parents who shopped more frequently at fast-food stores had 7 % lower odds for higher vegetable intake (95 % CI: 0.88-0.99).

CONCLUSION: In this study, both, youth and household factors were associated with youth FV and fiber intake, underscoring the need for a multi-level approach to increasing youths' diet quality. These results will inform and shape an effective intervention program for improving youth dietary intakes.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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