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Meaningful Messages: Adults in the Lower Mississippi Delta Provide Cultural Insight into Strategies for Promoting the MyPyramid

Zoellner, Jamie, Bounds, Wendy, Connell, Carol, Yadrick, Crook, LaShaundrea
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2010 v.42 no.1 pp. 41-50
behavior change, health promotion, MyPyramid, USDA food plans, psychosocial factors, African Americans, nutrition education, cultural behavior, nationalities and ethnic groups, nutritional intervention, adults, human nutrition, nutrition knowledge, nutrient intake, foodways, food beliefs, food choices, food prices, food availability, socioeconomic status, Mississippi Delta region
Objective: To explore cultural perceptions of the MyPyramid key messages and identify factors that may impact adoption of these recommendations. Methods: Systematic content analysis of transcripts from in-depth, structured interviews with 23 adults, primarily African American females, residing in the Lower Mississippi Delta. Results: When asked to identify good reasons to follow the MyPyramid key messages, nonspecific references to improved health were most prevalent (n = 130); however, participants also acknowledged the importance of getting vitamins and nutrients (n = 81), and the impact food choices have on health conditions (n = 77) and organ systems (n = 65). Individual-level factors (n = 211), such as dislike for food items and tradition or customs, far outnumbered environmental-level factors (n = 48), such as cost and availability, as perceived reasons preventing community members from adhering to the key messages. The most frequently mentioned suggestion for helping community members eat according to the MyPyramid were to raise awareness (n = 93), provide information (n = 65), and improve the taste of or provide opportunity to taste (n = 49). Conclusions and Implications: This study captured participants' cultural perspectives of the MyPyramid key messages. Results indicate that both social marketing campaigns and intervention efforts focused on individual-level factors are needed to promote the MyPyramid in this disadvantaged Delta region.