Date of Award

1985

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Marjorie Caldwell

Abstract

A cross-cultural food habit model constructed after review of available literature was used as a guide for investigating food habit determinants. A food habit survey was conducted in Antigua, W.I. in December, 1981 and January, 1982 to test the model. Data collected by questionnaire from 305 households included household food purchase and production, food consumption via 24-hour recall and food frequency, food-related beliefs and socioeconomic characteristics of respondents and household members. Results showed that the Antiguan diet is starch-based and that, despite crop production by about two-thirds of the households sampled, many diets appeared to be deficient in selected fruit and vegetable groups. Diets appeared to be adequate in protein, with reliance on fish, egg, chicken and pork. on a product by product basis, diets appeared to be a mixture of locally-produced items or traditional foods, such as saltfish and local vegetables, and of imported items such as Ovaltine, canned milk, canned fish and Cream of wheat Noon and evening meal patterns resembled traditional breakfast (noon) patterns of English-speaking south Caribbean islanders (Jerome, 1975). Investigation into one striking food pattern, the widespread consumption of a fortified food beverage powder, revealed that the powders supplemented most of the diets with one or more of the selected food groups found to be limiting in respondents’ diets and that respondents from a variety of socioeconomic groups were consuming the powders. Analysis of cultural factors influencing food habits revealed that the major food avoidance was pork, for religious reasons. When respondents were asked which foods they would select when respondents with extra food money and why, major reasons for choices were related to health and preference. An extensive array of socioeconomic variables representing factors in the model hypothesized to influence food habits reasons in Antigua were tested for a significant correlation (Kendall's tau b coefficient) with a Dietary Adequacy Score reflecting the presence of six selected food groups in a respondents one-day intake. As a result of multicollinearity among the independent variables significantly (p<0.05) related to the Dietary Adequacy Score, factor analysis of the independent variables was run. Two of the four resulting factors, r presenting household wealth and the exposure to new ideas, were significantly related to the Dietary Adequacy Score in a multiple linear regression model.

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