Maintaining food sufficiency: Coping strategies identified by limited-resource individuals versus nutrition educators

Kathryn Kempson, Debra Keenan, Puneeta Sonya Sadani, Audrey Adler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objective: This study's purposes were to identify food acquisition and management coping strategies used by limited-resource individuals to maintain food sufficiency, compare strategies named by the target audience to those previously identified by nutrition educators, and examine these strategies to advance grounded theory. Design: Eleven focus groups, conducted with 62 limited-resource individuals, elucidated coping strategies that they or others they knew used to acquire or manage food to maintain food sufficiency. The results were compared with practices as previously identified by nutrition educators who regularly worked with this audience. Subjects/Settings: Subjects aged 19 to 67 from throughout New Jersey were recruited by Food Stamp agencies, low-income outreach programs, soup kitchens, welfare offices, Head Start centers, shelters, and food pantries. Results: Of the 95 coping strategies identified, 83% were known from nutrition educators previously. Ten new practices (eg, selling blood) had not previously been identified by educators. Four of 10 practices were not found in the literature (eg, repeated participation in research studies). Six practices previously reported by nutrition educators were not mentioned by the study population. Implications: Educators who work with limited-resource individuals are a good resource for research with this audience. Study findings may be important considerations for nutrition program planning and policy making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Food acquisition
  • Food management
  • Food security
  • Food sufficiency
  • Limited resource
  • Low income

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Maintaining food sufficiency: Coping strategies identified by limited-resource individuals versus nutrition educators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this