Authors: Megan Welsh, Karla Shelnutt, PhD, RD, Kaley Mialki, MS, RDN, Lauren Sweeney, MS, RDN
Faculty Mentor: Lauren Sweeney, MS, RDN
College: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Disordered eating attitudes (DEAs) – more common among populations with lower education levels – may increase risk for weight gain and eating disorders. This research aims to evaluate the impact of a meal kit intervention on DEAs of African American main preparers of food with children and low income. Participants (n=36) received weekly meal kits for six weeks containing ingredients for three healthy recipes. Participants completed the DEA Scale (DEAS) at baseline, post, and long-term follow up (LTFU) 6-8 months after post. Descriptive statistics, paired-samples t-tests, and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used for analyses. Participants were 42.5±13.8 years, had a BMI of 35.4±9.2, primarily female (89%), and mostly food insecure (67%). Overall composite DEAS scores did not change throughout the study. “Relationship with food” scores improved from baseline (21.5) to post (19.6) (p=0.02). “Feeling toward eating” scores increased from baseline (3.7) to post (4.8) (p=0.019), suggesting worse feelings toward eating. Participants with obesity had higher baseline scores (82.9) than participants without obesity (71.1) (p=0.028) but not at post or LTFU. Meal kits may positively impact individuals’ relationships with food but negatively affect feelings toward eating. Future research should aim to explain these changes, especially among individuals with obesity.