Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Food and Nutrition Services


Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

David Holben

Second Advisor

Yunhee Chang

Third Advisor

Georgianna Mann

Relational Format



This study examined the differences in parent/caretaker body mass index (BMI) and parent/caretaker-reported child overweight/obesity by food security status in a rural, Appalachian, Mississippi community, as well as the relationship of parent/caretaker BMI and parent/caretaker-reported child overweight/obesity to food security status. A cross-sectional survey of elementary school parents/caretakers recruited at three elementary schools in an economically-distressed Appalachian, Mississippi county was conducted. Parent/caretaker BMI was calculated from self-reported height and weight. Caretaker-reported child overweight/obesity was determined using caretaker report of a medical professional identifying child overweight/obesity within the past year. Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS (version 23, 2015) to assess for differences in parent/caretaker BMI and caretaker-reported child overweight/obesity by food security status (ANOVA, Independent Samples T-test, Pearson Chi Squared), as well as the relationship of food security to BMI and child overweight/obesity (Pearson r and Kendall’s taub correlations). Parent/caretaker participants (n=467, 41% response rate) were 34±8 years and predominantly Caucasian (n=264/465, 57%), female (n=425/461, 92%), married (n=243/453, 54%), with some college or higher education (n=256/461, 56%), and living in food-secure households (n=367/455, 80%). Parent/caretaker BMI differed by food security status (p=.02), with those from food-insecure households having a significantly higher BMI (31.7kg/m2±8.0 kg/m2) than those from food-secure households (29.2±7.2). Parent/caretaker BMI was greater in food-insecure households, but prevalence of caretaker-reported child overweight/obesity was greater in food-secure households (6.8%), compared to food-insecure households (1.1%). Exploring nutrition interventions, especially in a community hub (e.g., school), that may help to alleviate household food insecurity is warranted.

Included in

Nutrition Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.