Dietary intake of individuals receiving SNAP and food pantry assistance in North Texas

Seema Jain, Kathryn Shahan, Michael Bowen, Sandi L. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Food pantries and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are widely available resources for individuals facing food insecurity, yet the dietary quality of individuals using both programs is not well characterized. We describe the dietary intake of individuals in North Texas who use both food pantries and SNAP to identify nutritional gaps and opportunities to improve food assistance programs. We analyzed baseline data from a randomized controlled trial examining food security and dietary intake at two large food pantries in Dallas County, Texas. Eligible participants were English or Spanish speaking adults receiving SNAP benefits who had used the food pantry within the last 4 months. At baseline, we administered the validated, 26-item dietary screener questionnaire (DSQ). We calculated descriptive statistics for dietary intake variables and compared to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended intake values. We analyzed baseline DSQ data from 320 participants (mean age 47 years; 90% female; 45% Black or African American; 37% Hispanic or Latino). Despite receiving SNAP benefits and food pantry assistance, most participants did not meet the minimum recommended intake values for fruits (88.4%), vegetables (97.4%), fiber (90.7%), whole grains (99.7%), dairy (98.4%), and calcium (83.4%). Furthermore, 73.2% of participants exceeded the maximum recommended intake for added sugar. Still, the gap between median daily intake and recommended daily intake could be partially bridged with food obtained through current food assistance programs. Multilevel, coordinated approaches within both SNAP and food pantry networks are needed to improve diet quality in individuals receiving food assistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • dietary intake
  • food assistance
  • food pantries
  • SNAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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