Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Consumer Science

Committee Chair(s)

Jean M. Lown


Jean M. Lown


Georgia C. Lauritzen


Donald V. Sisson


During a time of national and local debate over welfare reform, research is needed to determine the effectiveness of specific welfare programs and the impact on the lives of households participating in these programs. The objective of this study was to determine the effect housing and food expenditures have on the diet quality of low-income families. Participants for the study were drawn from government-subsidized housing rolls and housing assistance waiting lists. Diet quality was measured by 16 variables: percent RDA protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium consumed; percent calories from protein, carbohydrates, fat, and alcohol; and the number of servings from each food group: bread and cereal, fruit, vegetable, meat and protein, dairy, and fats and sweets food groups. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to analyze the relationship between the percent poverty level of the household and the percent of income spent on housing and food with each diet quality variable. No statistically significant correlations were found. Mann-Whitney U tests and t tests were used to determine if diet quality of participants who received housing assistance was different from participants who did not receive assistance. No statistical significance was found. Participant's diets who received food assistance and diets of participants who do not receive food assistance were also analyzed to determine any differences in diet quality. Again, no statistical significance was found between the two groups. The diets of the sample population were found to be fairly average in comparison to overall food consumption patterns of the United States. Consumption of fiber, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products was low. Increased consumer education programs are recommended to improve overall diet.