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"Ancestral recipes": a mixed-methods analysis of MyPlate-based recipe dissemination for Latinos in rural communities.

Cheney AM, McCarthy WJ, Pozar M, Reaves C, Ortiz G, Lopez D, Saldivar PA, Gelberg L. "Ancestral recipes": a mixed-methods analysis of MyPlate-based recipe dissemination for Latinos in rural communities. BMC public health. 2023 Feb 1; 23(1):216.

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BACKGROUND: The Latinx population experiences some of the highest rates of chronic disease, including obesity and type II diabetes. Such conditions may be especially burdensome in rural Latinx communities that often face barriers to accessing disease prevention resources and public health programs. METHODS: Diverse stakeholders (i.e., patients, community members, system of healthcare clinics, community food bank) tailored an existing cookbook, based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture MyPlate healthy eating and dietary guidelines, for local ingredients, health literacy, and language for rural Latinx and Indigenous Latin Americans. The cookbook recipes were disseminated widely via virtual cooking demonstrations, food distribution events, and social media. Pre- and posttest surveys were used to assess changes in diabetes knowledge measured by the 24-item American Diabetes Association Diabetic Knowledge Questionnaire and confidence in dietary behavior change over time measured by 4 questions of the 17-item Mediterranean Diet Index. A mixed effects, repeated measures analysis was conducted with gender ID, age range and educational attainment included as covariates and assessment interval as the predictor (pretest vs posttest) and change in confidence about adhering to four specific components of the Mediterranean diet. Focus groups elicited information on participants' motivation and ability to use the recipes and eat healthy foods following the virtual cooking demonstration participation. RESULTS: A total of 20 virtual cooking demonstrations were conducted and 60 participants completed a pretest survey and 54 a posttest survey, a subsample (n  = 19) participated in one of three focus groups. Most participants were female, identified as Latinx/Hispanic, were between the ages of 40-49, and spoke Spanish. 17% identified as Indigenous Latin American specifically as Purépecha, an indigenous group from Michoacán, Mexico. Survey and focus group findings indicated at posttest an increase in diabetes knowledge among participants with no prior diagnosis of chronic health conditions and more confidence in limiting sugary beverages and refined wheat pasta/white rice among indigenous participants. Focus group discussions explicated the quantitative findings. CONCLUSION: This study brought together patients and key stakeholders committed to addressing the social determinants of health and it mobilized the community to develop culturally vetted health education materials. The findings indicate the need for increased access to evidence-based nutrition education and to culturally appropriate food products that can be easily incorporated into daily food preparation.

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