Research

In this section, you will find relevant research regarding issues in food security, including healthy corner store initiatives and community kitchens.

Food Deserts and Healthy Corner Store Initiatives

RETAIL STORES IN POOR URBAN NEIGHBORHOODS Alwitt & Donley, 1997

FROM THE ABSTRACT: As expected poor zip code areas in Chicago have fewer and smaller retail outlets overall than nonpoor areas, including fewer supermarkets… Residents of poor neighborhoods must travel more than two miles to have access to the same numbers of supermarkets, large drug stores, banks, and other types of stores as residents of non-poor areas.

THE IMPACT OF COST ON THE AVAILABILITY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IN HOMES OF SCHOOLCHILDREN IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA [PDF] Ard, Fitzpatrick, Desmond, Sutton, Pisu, Allison, Franklin & Baskin, 2007

RESULTS: Higher cost was inversely related to fruit and vegetable availability. Higher income, African American race, and female gender were positively related to availability. Cost per serving was stratified into 3 categories—low, medium, and high. Relative to low-cost items, only high-cost items decreased the odds of availability significantly.

FROM THE DISCUSSION: A higher income increased the odds of having an item in the home, but only modestly.  This modest effect suggests that the impact of income on obesity may be mediated through other avenues aside from limiting availability of fruits and vegetables in the home. That is, as the category of income increased, the odds of reporting an item available at home increased by just 3%, indicating that those with higher incomes were not necessarily using the additional income to purchase a wider variety of fruits and vegetables largely different from those in lower income brackets.

CONCLUSIONS: Fruit and vegetable cost does impact availability and has the greatest impact for high-cost items. Although cost was inversely related to availability, African Americans reported higher fruit and vegetable availability than Whites. Additional studies are needed to determine whether food items of lower nutritive value and comparable cost impact availability.

NEIGHBORHOOD RESOURCES FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND HEALTHY FOODS AND THEIR ASSOCIATION WITH INSULIN RESISTANCE [PDF] Auchincloss, Diez Roux, Brown, Erdmann & Bertoni, 2008

DISCUSSION: In this cross-sectional study, insulin resistance was negatively associated with suitable residential environments for physical activity and for purchasing healthy foods. Associations between insulin resistance and physical activity environments persisted after adjustment for individual level variables. For example, adjusted for age, sex, family history of diabetes, race/ethnicity, income and education, insulin resistance was 17% lower per increase from the 10th to 90th percentile in neighborhood physical activity resources (CI = -31% to -1%). Neighborhood healthy food resources were similarly inversely associated with insulin resistance although the association was attenuated after adjustment for race and ethnicity. Results also suggested that individual-level diet and physical activity mediate the observed associations, both directly and via obesity (BMI). Residing farther from area resources was also associated with insulin resistance, although associations were weaker than for the neighborhood measures.in scale and transportation.

NEIGHBORHOOD FRUIT AND VEGETABLE AVAILABILITY AND CONSUMPTION: THE ROLE OF SMALL FOOD STORES IN AN URBAN ENVIRONMENT [PDF] Bodor, Rose, Farley, Swalm, & Scott, 2007

Greater fresh vegetable availability within 100 m of a residence was a positive predictor of vegetable intake; each additional metre of shelf space was associated with 0.35 servings per day of increased intake. Fresh fruit availability was not associated with intake, although having a small food store within this same distance was a marginal predictor of fruit consumption.

THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN OBESITY AND URBAN FOOD ENVIRONMENTS [PDF] Bodor, Rice, Farley, Swalm & Rose, 2010

Food retailer counts were created by summing the total number of each food store type and fast food establishment within this 2 km neighborhood. Hierarchical linear models assessed associations between access to food retailers and obesity status. After adjusting for individual characteristics, each additional supermarket in a respondent’s neighborhood was associated with a reduced odds for obesity (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.88-0.99). Fast food restaurant (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.02) and convenience store (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.02) access were each predictive of greater obesity odds. An individual’s access to food stores and fast food restaurants may play a part in determining weight status.

SNACKING IN CHILDREN: THE ROLE OF URBAN CORNER STORES [PDF] Borradaile, Sherman, Vander Veur, McCoy, Sandoval, Nachmani, Karpyn & Foster, 2011

METHODS: This was an observational study from January to June 2008. Participants were children in grades 4 through 6 from 10 urban K-8 schools with &#8805 50% of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals. A total of 833 intercept surveys of children’s purchases were conducted outside 24 corner stores before and after school. The main outcomes were type and energy content of items purchased.

RESULTS: The most frequently purchased items were energy-dense, low-nutritive foods and beverages, such as chips, candy, and sugar- sweetened beverages. Students spent $1.07 ± 0.93 on 2.1 ± 1.3 items (1.6 ± 1.1 food items and 0.5 ± 0.6 beverage items) per purchase. The total number of calories purchased per trip was 1497.7 ± 1219.3 kJ (356.6 ± 290.3 kcal). More calories came from foods than from beverages.

DO THE POOR PAY MORE FOR FOOD? AN ANALYSIS OF GROCERY STORE AVAILABILITY AND PRICE DISPARITIES Chung & Myers, 1999

FROM THE ABSTRACT: This study reveals that the biggest factor contributing to higher grocery costs in poor neighborhoods is that large chain stores, where prices tend to be lower, are not located in these neighborhoods.

THE URBAN GROCERY GAP [PDF] Coterill & Franklin, 1995

Authors identify a lack of grocery stores in zip codes with a high density of citizens on public assistance and low per capita income in Bridgeport, CT and Washington DC. Lack of access was also seen in poor rural zipcodes, though that was partly mitigated by car ownership.

EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF FOOD DESERTS ON PUBLIC HEALTH IN CHICAGO [PDF] Gallagher et al, 2006

This develops the concept of Food Balance, modeling distance from available groceries with proximity to fast food outlets.  Low income neighborhoods are likely to be more out of balance and have worse public health outcomes for diet related diseases like Type II Diabetes.

THE FOOD ENVIRONMENT AND FOOD INSECURITY: PERCEPTIONS OF RURAL, SUBURBAN AND URBAN FOOD PANTRY CLIENTS IN IOWA Garasky, Morton, Greder, 2004

This study looks at a wide array of areas in the demographics and perceptions of food pantry clients where there were similarities or difference between urban, rural and suburban populations.  Some of the more striking contrasts among the three groups: Rural food pantry clients were more likely to perceive their communities as having an inadequate number of food stores than their counterparts. Transportation issues ranking of greater concern to rural and suburban clients than urban clients. Only 37.5% of urban clients said that they felt “Always Safe” where they bought groceries compared to 53.6% of rural and 74.5% of suburban clients.  Urban clients were on average more likely to receive public assistance and had lower incomes.

CLOSING THE GROCERY GAP IN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES: THE CREATION OF THE PENNSYLVANIA FRESH FOOD FINANCING INITIATIVE [PDF]  Giang, Karpyn, Laurison, Hillier & Perry, 2008

FROM THE SUMMARY INTRODUCTION: The issue of access to healthy foods has been central to the work of many community-based organizations around the country. One such organization, The Food Trust, launched an effective advocacy campaign to bring awareness and policy change to the issue. The Food Trust’s efforts with its partners resulted in the creation of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the nation’s first statewide financing program to increase supermarket development in underserved areas. This article focuses on a key component of the advocacy campaign: the creation of an evidence-based report that served as a strong, credible foundation for the campaign. The steps that were taken to find partners, obtain and analyze the data, and disseminate the findings are described. In addition, the outcomes of the Fresh Food Financing Initiative are discussed.

THE NUTRITIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES SURVEY ON STORES [PDF] Glanz, et al 2007

RESULTS: Ten food categories (e.g., fruits) or indicator food items (e.g., ground beef) were evaluated in 85 stores. Inter-rater reliability and test–retest reliability of availability were high: inter-rater reliability kappas were 0.84 to 1.00, and test–retest reliabilities were .73 to 1.00. Inter-rater reliability for quality across fresh produce was moderate (kappas, 0.44 to 1.00). Healthier options were higher priced for hot dogs, lean ground beef, and baked chips. More healthful options were available in grocery than convenience stores and in stores in higher income neighborhoods.

A CORNER STORE INTERVENTION IN A LOW-INCOME URBAN COMMUNITY IS ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED AVAILABILITY AND SALES OF SOME HEALTHY FOODS  Hee-Jung Song, Joel Gittelsohn, Miyong Kim, Sonali Suratkar, Sangita Sharma and Jean Anliker, 2009

FOOD STORE AVAILABILITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES [PDF] Powell et al, 2007

Low-income neighborhoods have fewer chain supermarkets with only 75% (p < 0.01) of that available in middle-income neighborhoods. Even after controlling for income and other covariates, the availability of chain supermarkets in African American neighborhoods is only 52% (p < 0.01) of that in White neighborhoods with even less relative availability in urban areas. Hispanic neighborhoods have only 32% (p < 0.01) as many chain supermarkets compared to non-Hispanic neighborhoods. Non-chain supermarkets and grocery stores are more prevalent in low-income and minority neighborhoods.

NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD ENVIRONMENTS AND BODY MASS: THE IMPORTANCE OF IN STORE CONTENTS Rose, Hutchinson, Bodor, Swalm, Farley, Cohen & Rice 2009

The neighborhood availability of energy-dense snack foods within 1 kilometer of an individual’s residence was positively associated with BMI, after controlling for individual and household-level characteristics. An additional 100 meters of shelf-space for snack foods was associated with an increase in 0.1 BMI units. At this rate, an increase equivalent to 1 SD in the neighborhood shelf-space of energy-dense snack foods would translate to about two extra pounds for a person who is 5′5″. Positive associations were also found when availability was disaggregated into specific types of snack foods, that is, when salty snacks, candies, and carbonated beverages were analyzed separately. There were no significant associations of BMI with the availability of fruits and vegetables.

FRUIT AND VEGETABLE INTAKE IN AFRICAN AMERICANS: INCOME AND STORE CHARACTERISTICS, Zenk, et al, 2005

RESULTS: Women shopping at supermarkets and specialty stores consumed fruit and vegetables more often, on average, than those shopping at independent grocers. More positive perceptions of the selection/quality, but not affordability, of fresh produce at the retail outlet where they shopped was positively associated with intake, independent of store type and location as well as age, per capita income, and years of education. The results suggested an indirect association between income and fruit and vegetable intake; women with higher per capita incomes were more likely to shop at supermarkets than at other grocers, which in turn was associated with intake.

STRATEGIES FOR INCREASING FRUIT AND VEGETABLE INTAKE IN GROCERY STORES AND COMMUNITIES: POLICY, PRICING, AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE [PDF] Glanz & Yaroch, 2004

METHODS: The strategies, examples, and research reported here were identified through an extensive search of published journal articles, reports, and inquiries to leaders in the field. Recommendations were expanded with input from participants in the CDC/ACS-sponsored Fruit and Vegetable, Environment Policy and Pricing Workshop held in September of 2002.

RESULTS: Four key types of grocery-store-based interventions include point-of-purchase (POP) information; reduced prices and coupons; increased availability, variety, and convenience; and promotion and advertising. There is strong support for the feasibility of these approaches and modest evidence of their efficacy in influencing eating behavior. Church-based programs, child care center policies, and multisectoral community approaches show promise.

Nutrition and Cooking Education

A FORMATIVE EVALUATION OF THE COOKING WITH A CHEF PROGRAM Condrasky, Griffin, Catalano, Clark, 2010 

ABSTRACT: The Cooking with a Chef a culinary nutrition education series teams a chef and nutrition educator during cooking sessions with parents. Pilot program results were shared in the Journal of Extension in 2006. This formative evaluation presents data collected through focus groups and individual interviews examining program implementation, participant impressions, and program objectives during four subsequent program trials. Findings indicate high level of potential for the program building self-efficacy and change within home environment, thus increasing participant motivation to cook. Lessons learned contribute to refinement of the program, and quantitative data is forthcoming as pilot testing continues with ongoing groups.