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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Feasibility of purchasing foods for a culturally appropriate, high quality, heart healthy diet in a low-income African American community

Rachael S. Fulp, MPH, Center for Cardiovascular Disease in Women, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, BC-3, Boston, MA 02115, 617-732-7076, rfulp@partners.og, Paula A. Johnson, MD, MPH, Division of Women's Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology, 75 Francis Street, PBB5, Boston, MA 02115, and Katherine D. McManus, MS, RD, Department of Nutrition, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115.


To assess whether the maximum benefit available under the Food Stamp program is sufficient for individuals and families living in Roxbury, Massachusetts to purchase a nutritionally adequate diet that meets two criteria: it is heart healthy and culturally appropriate.


Focus groups were conducted with 1) black women with children under age 18 in the household and 2) black women age 65 and older living alone. All participants were residents of Roxbury, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. We developed, tested, and revised a series of model menus based on focus group discussions about household food preferences, preparation, cost and access issues. Data gathered from the focus groups was used to shape one week's worth of menus.

The menus were translated into shopping lists, and food prices were collected at two large, local grocery stores frequented by focus group members. Based on the 7-day food plan, the project calculated the average cost for one day of food; data was subsequently used to calculate food costs for one month.

Results The maximum Food Stamp benefit for 1) a family of four and for 2) seniors living alone is inadequate to cover the cost of one month of culturally appropriate, heart healthy food in this community.


Many low-income people living in Roxbury have limited access to affordable healthy food options. Interventions to educate community members about affordable healthy food sources are needed. It is critical to address accessibility, including food pricing and government subsidies, as a matter of public health policy.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Low-Income, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Reducing Health Disparities Through Partnerships, Prevention and Insurance

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA