Graduation Date

Summer 8-17-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research

First Advisor

Jennie L Hill


Food insecurity occurs when there is a lack of access to enough food to live an active, healthy life. Current efforts to address food insecurity include developing and implementing policies, programs, and practices at the federal, state, and local levels. Specifically, local efforts target decreasing food insecurity through emergency food networks including food banks and food pantries. Over the last several years, many food banks and food pantries have worked to improve the nutritional quality of the foods they offer. However, food pantries are smaller and less formal organizations than food banks. Thus, they have limited resources to develop and adopt policies or strategies to improve the quality of food offered. There is limited information available about the potential impact on the nutritional quality of food at pantries if food pantries adopt specific policies to guide food donations and distributions.

This dissertation consisted of three studies that sought to better understand the role of nutrition policies at food pantries. The first study was a cross-sectional survey distributed to food pantry directors across the United States that allowed for a better understanding of the adoption of nutrition policies at food pantries. The second study aimed to determine the strength and comprehensiveness of the formal nutrition policies submitted by food pantries during the survey. The final study included interviews with food pantries to determine the degree to which nutrition policies were being implemented and barriers to implementation at food pantries. All studies were guided by the RE-AIM framework.