Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Family and Consumer Sciences

Document Type



Food insecurity occurs when an individual does not have consistent access to fresh, nutritious food in safe, socially acceptable, and affordable ways. This is a significant challenge facing Kentuckians, with one in six adults and one in four children experiencing some degree of food insecurity. The present study examines the effectiveness of customized nutrition education in improving 1) nutrition-related behaviors associated with food insecurity and 2) management of household food supply in food-insecure individuals with and without children. Participants were recruited through HOTEL INC, and one was from a household without children and one with children. A pre-assessment survey evaluated food insecurity levels, coping behaviors, and basic nutrition status. Customized nutrition education was given to each participant through an interactive grocery store tour. The post-assessment survey was similar to the pre-assessment, but directly assessed the effectiveness of the nutrition education as well as reassessed coping behaviors and dietary intake. The results indicate that even after only one session, customized nutrition education led to a positive behavioral and dietary change in the household without children. In the same household, utilization of frozen/pre-prepared meals decreased from 1-2 times per week to zero times in the six weeks between education and post-assessment. There was also a decrease in the frequency of consumption of fried foods. If these changes are sustainable, positive effects on health and budget could result. A direct comparison between the two participants was not performed due to the Participant 2’s inability to complete the post-assessment. However, further insight into the nature of the strains of food insecurity with children was gained. Although the study is small in scope, the results show that customized nutrition interventions are at least moderately effective in changing behaviors associated with food insecurity and improving some areas of dietary intake.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Karen Mason


Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Food Security | Food Studies