Date of Graduation

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

College/School

School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Erin Grinshteyn, Ph.D.

Abstract

Food disparity is a continuously prevalent issue in the United States despite the presence of programs, such as the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), to fill gaps in reaching those who are financially inhibited and do not have a sustainable source of nutritionally balanced food. A primary part of the issue that arises is that these types of programs have restrictions on age or only operate during the school year. To assess this issue, the Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD), in conjunction with the Stanford University Pediatrics Advocacy Program (SUPAP), initiated a local food pantry program and study at a library to interview participants in the program for their perception of food disparity and personal impact that it has had on their lives. The SUPAP conducted and recorded the interviews, coded the topics covered in the interviews, analyzed the frequency of topics covered and completed a theme analysis of frequently covered topics. Through the analysis of topic frequency in the study, it was found that community food disparity perception, feedback on the program, and motivation for attending the program were the most frequently covered in the interviews. Participants frequently agreed that limitations in income level and household rent were the primary reasons as to why they needed to come to this program and others. Furthermore, participants remarked that low education levels on healthy eating were also associated with food disparity in their community. This program and study showed that assessing food disparity in children during non-school months is not the primary issue, or that the lack of food pantry sources was the issue, but rather there is a need for an open source health education program and greater legislation to reduce further the costs for families who are considered low-income.

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