Teresa Smith, MS

Exploration of food preparation behaviors among U.S. Hispanic parents: A mixed methods study

The lifetime probability of developing cancer among Hispanics is 40.6% among men and 35.0% among women; with the most common diagnoses being breast (29% of female cases), prostate (29% of male cases), colorectum (11% male and 8% female), and lung (9% male and 7% female) (1). Risk factors in the U.S. Hispanic population associated with these common types of cancer include, but are not limited to high intake of fat, low intake of vegetables and fruits (FV), and unhealthy body weight (2–7). Research suggests that cultural and familial approaches to healthy eating in the home food environment can contribute to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, decreased fat consumption, and promote healthy body weight, thus reducing risk for cancer development in the U.S. Hispanic population. Development of a food preparation measurement tool appropriate for parents in the U.S. Hispanic population can enhance utility of dietary information for surveillance, and inform intervention and evaluation among U.S. Hispanic families (8).  The purpose of this study is to develop and pilot a culturally relevant food preparation behaviors and related factors (i.e., meal planning and shopping, food preparation attitudes, and food preparation self-efficacy) measurement tool appropriate for U.S. Hispanic parents. An exploratory sequential mixed methods design will be used, and it will involve collecting qualitative data first, through focus groups, to help inform a quantitative measurement tool. Preliminary data from the pilot survey will be used to psychometrically evaluate the measurement tool and test the hypothesis of association among food preparation behaviors and related factors, dietary intake, acculturation, and food security. Contributing to the relatively sparse ethnicity-specific literature on cancer prevention and dietary behaviors, these findings will highlight differences in modifiable socioecological and individual factors within U.S. Hispanic families. The anticipated evidence from this study can be used to inform culturally relevant cancer prevention interventions, identify gaps in cancer prevention research, and inform surveillance efforts.

Specific Aims:
1. Through focus groups, investigate food preparation behaviors, attitudes, and self-efficacy, and meal planning and shopping behaviors in a sample of U.S. Hispanic parents in California.
2. Construct a culturally relevant measurement tool appropriate for U.S. Hispanic parents to quantitatively assess food preparation behaviors, attitudes, and self-efficacy, and meal planning and shopping behaviors.
3. Pilot test the measurement tool in a sample of U.S. Hispanic parents in California, examining relationships among food preparation behaviors, attitudes, and self-efficacy, meal planning and shopping behaviors, and other dietary behaviors.

1. Siegel, R. Cancer Statistics About Hispanics Released. (American Cancer Society, 2012). At <http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/News/ExpertVoices/post/2012/09/17/Cancer-Statistics-About-Hispanics-Released.aspx>
2. Siegel, R., Naishadham, D. & Jemal, A. Cancer statistics for Hispanics/Latinos, 2012. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 62, n/a–n/a (2012).
3. National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Prevention (PDQ®). (2012).at <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/prevention/breast/HealthProfessional>4. American Cancer Society Can colorectal cancer be prevented? (2012). At <http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/ColonandRectumCancer/DetailedGuide/colorectal-cancer-prevention>
5. National Cancer Institute Lung Cancer Prevention (PDQ®). (2012).at <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/prevention/lung/HealthProfessional>
6. Mayo Clinic Prostate cancer prevention: Ways to reduce your risk. (2011). At <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/prostate-cancer-prevention/MC00027>
7. Story, M., Kaphingst, K. M., Robinson-O’Brien, R. & Glanz, K. Creating Healthy Food and Eating Environments: Policy and Environmental Approaches. Annual Review of Public Health 29, 253–272 (2008).
8. American Cancer Society Cancer Now Leading Cause of Death Among Hispanic Americans. (2012). At <http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/News/report-cancer-now-leading-cause-of-death-among-hispanic-americans>

Teresa Smith, MS
Teresa Smith Picture

Teresa M. Smith, MS is a doctoral candidate in the UNMC College of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion, Social, and Behavioral Health, working directly under the mentoring of Dr. Amy Yaroch. Additionally, Teresa joined the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition in August 2010 as a Graduate Research Assistant, assisting the scientific research efforts across the Center’s core areas of Childhood Obesity, Local Food Systems, Food Security, and Measurement and Evaluation, and is an active collaborator on research papers. Prior to joining the Center, she spent a year on special appointment as a lecturer at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where she had previously completed her Masters of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees with a focus on Nutrition and Health Sciences, specifically related to risk and preventative factors of the leading cancers in the U.S. Teresa’s research focuses on  socioecological and individual dietary factors that are associated with reduced risk of chronic disease in low-income households; racial and ethnic minorities; and youth and their families with the ultimate goal to reduce health disparities in these populations. She anticipates earning her PhD in Spring 2014.