Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Social Work

Major Professor

Sondra J. Fogel, Ph.D., LCSW

Committee Member

Roger Boothroyd, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nan Sook Park, Ph.D., MSW

Committee Member

Alison Salloum, Ph.D., LCSW

Committee Member

Mary Armstrong, Ph.D.


women, poverty, NHANES, food insecurity, healthy lifestyle characteristics


Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) self-reported surveys from 2007-2012, this research explored the relationship between four healthy lifestyle characteristics - healthy weight, adequate daily fruit and vegetable intake, regular moderate to vigorous physical activity and not smoking - with food behaviors of low-income, food insecure women. The study examined three specific food behaviors (the use of SNAP, consumption of fast foods, and the utilization of community emergency food programs) to determine if these behaviors had a significant impact on low-income, food insecure women to follow healthy lifestyle characteristics. A secondary data analysis was conducted using binary logistic regression for the analysis. The study sample included low-income, food insecure women ages 18 and above. Once missing data were removed, the total sample size was 589. Results of this study indicate there are no significant relationships between adherence to two or more of the four healthy lifestyle characteristics with: (1) the use of SNAP, (2) the consumption of fast foods or (3) the utilization of community emergency food programs. This study illustrates the importance of understanding the food behaviors of low-income, food insecure woman in order to aid in the prevention of diseases caused by obesity. Although the research results from this study were not significant, it was clearly demonstrated that most Americans do not adhere to the four healthy lifestyle characteristics. The implications of this research enable social workers and other health professionals to understand how food behaviors may be a key factor in reducing or eliminating food insecurity and obesity of low-income, food insecure women in the US.

Included in

Social Work Commons