This mixed-methods study endeavored to expand the current understanding of how early pandemic related disruptions impacted the home food environment and parent feeding practices of families with young children. Data for this study are taken from the Kids EAT! Study, a racially/ethnically diverse cohort of families with 2–5 year old children. Individual interviews were conducted by phone and video conference with mothers (n = 25) during August/September of 2020 and were coded using a hybrid deductive/inductive analysis approach. Parents also reported on their family's food insecurity status enabling qualitative findings to be stratified by family-level food security status. Two overarching themes were identified related to how families in this sample describe the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on their home food environment. Themes included 1) Impacts on obtaining food for one's family, and 2) Specific changes in parent feeding practices. Findings indicated variation within each theme by family food security status. Overall, families experiencing food insecurity more frequently discussed using various coping strategies, including stocking up, rationing food, and use of supplemental food resources, to overcome challenges associated with obtaining food brought on by COVID-19. Families with food insecurity also reported having more time for home cooked meals and more frequently discussed enforcing less structure (timing of meal, place) related to meals/snacks consumed at home during the pandemic. The impacts of the COVID-19 persist, ranging from ongoing economic challenges, inconsistent access to childcare for families, and the emergence of new, more contagious, variants. With this, interventions to address food insecurity amongst families with young children should consider how to optimize the home food environment and promote healthful parent feeding practices within the families they serve in the face of an evolving public health crisis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute (NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award: UL1TR002494 ), Children’s Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics Child Health COVID-19 Collaborative Grant (PI: Katie Loth), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , award R35HL139853 (PI: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer). Dr. Loth’s time was supported by the National Institutes of Health Institute of Child Health and Human Development , award K23HD090324-02 . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd
- Food insecurity
- Preschool children
- Qualitative research
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article