Method: A sample of 121 adults (Mage = 54.30±16.03, MBMI = 27.67±5.70) from a rural region of Oregon completed an online survey. Participants were primarily Caucasian/White (93%) and female (64%). The survey assessed BMI, motivators of and barriers to healthy foods and snacks (Motivators of and Barriers to Health-Smart Behaviors Inventory), and perceived food access (Food Choice and Access Survey). A hierarchical regression was conducted to examine the associations between barriers, motivators, and perceived access with BMI as a moderator.
Results: Preliminary analyses revealed that increased barriers were associated with less perceived access (β = -.27, p < .01). BMI was also found to moderate the association between motivators and perceived access (β = .24, p = .04). Probing of the interaction revealed that in rural adults with lower BMI, higher levels of motivators were associated with less perceived access (β = -.34, p = .01).
Conclusion: For adults in a rural, Oregon community, increased barriers to eating healthy foods and snacks were associated with less perceived access to healthy food choices. Interestingly, the presence of motivators was not enough to increase one’s perceived access to healthy foods for those with lower BMIs. This could be attributed to heightened awareness of what is required to eat healthier yet having limited access to healthy food options in one’s current food environment. These findings support the continued need to identify ways to mitigate food access issues in rural communities.
Note: In remembrance of Dr. Tasia Smith, University of Oregon