Grantee Research

Teaching Latinos How to Buy Healthier Foods

Dr. Dharma Cortes, University of Massachusetts

“Esto es Mejor: Improving Food Purchasing Selection Among Low-Income, Spanish-Speaking LatinosThrough Social Marketing Messages”

This Salud America! pilot research project examines how an educational intervention informed by low-literacy principles (i.e., guidelines to ease understanding of complex themes like nutrition) could be used to increase food literacy and change consumer behavior to increase healthy eating among low-income Spanish-speaking Latinos. The study is evaluating specific consumer behaviors—food purchasing and consumption—among 20 low-income, Spanish-speaking Latino families with children under age 18. Baseline data on food purchasing, food consumption patterns, and healthy eating first were collected using various qualitative and quantitative research methods, including participant observations of families’ grocery shopping, nutritional analysis of families’ grocery store receipts, interviews, and photographs by children of families’ food environments. Home visits and educational sessions were conducted to teach families strategies to buy healthier food with a limited budget.

Research Category: Latino Families