Research Article  |   May 2018
Promoting Health Through Engagement in Occupations That Maximize Food Resources
Author Affiliations
  • Laura Schmelzer, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program, College of Health and Human Services, University of Toledo, OH; laura.schmelzer@utoledo.edu
  • Theresa Leto, DHS, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, Davenport University, Grand Rapids, MI
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 2018
Promoting Health Through Engagement in Occupations That Maximize Food Resources
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 2018, Vol. 72, 7204205020p1-7204205020p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.025866
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 2018, Vol. 72, 7204205020p1-7204205020p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.025866
Abstract

Poverty is a complex problem in the United States with far-reaching consequences, often leading to a lack of food or lack of access to food. Proper nutrition and food intake are foundational to health and well-being. This participatory action research (PAR) project explored the challenges associated with living in poverty and managing food resources. Stakeholders engaged in a multiphase PAR process, which resulted in the development and implementation of a 7-wk occupation-based program. The program promotes graded learning of specific skills for managing food resources and emphasizes empowering each participant. Preliminary results indicate statistically significant improvements in participants’ ability to make meals with certain food items and in perceived satisfaction and performance in self-identified activities related to food resource management. These findings support the feasibility of the program and the need for participant-driven, occupation-based approaches to improving food security.