Food insecurity and food preparation equipment in US households: exploratory results from a cross-sectional questionnaire

A. R. Oakley, C. J. Nikolaus, B. Ellison, S. M. Nickols-Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Food insecurity (FI) impacted 15.7% (5.9 million) of US households with children in 2017. These households often experience issues within one or more of the food security pillars: access, availability, utilisation or stability. An underexplored area within the pillar of utilisation that may impact FI risk is the availability of kitchen equipment in households. This exploratory project aimed to quantify household food preparation equipment ownership and use by household FI status. Methods: An online platform (Qualtrics, Provo, UT, USA) was used to administer a questionnaire to a sample of 135 parents of children aged 11–14 years. The instrument queried sociodemographic characteristics, food preparation items owned and frequency of use of 44 items within a 6-month interval. Household FI was measured using the 18-item US Department of Agriculture, Household Food Security Survey Module with a 12-month reference period. Results: Households experiencing FI (n = 39; 28.9%) owned an average of five fewer items than their food secure counterparts (n = 96, 71.1%, P < 0.001), reporting lower item ownership within each equipment category subgroup (i.e. large appliances, small appliances, food preparation utensils and cooking utensils; all P < 0.01). There were no differences between FI and food secure households in frequency of use (all P > 0.01). Conclusions: Compared to food secure households, the number of food preparation items owned was lower, although frequency of use was the same, in US households that were FI. Future projects should investigate how food equipment ownership impacts cooking behaviours, and whether households experiencing FI display behaviours to compensate for a differing set of equipment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • US households
  • cooking
  • food
  • food preparation equipment
  • food security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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