200868 Assessing racial differences in the nutrition environment: A descriptive study of individual perceptions of the grocery store shopping experience

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Supriya Kumar , Center for Minority Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Sandra C. Quinn, PhD , Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences & Research Center of Excellence on Minority Health Disparities, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA
Stephen B. Thomas, PhD , Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences & Research Center of Excellence on Minority Health Disparities, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Angela Ford, PhD , Center for Minority Health Univ of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
James Butler, DrPH , Department of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, US Virgin Islands
Studies in Los Angeles and Detroit suggest that majority-African American neighborhoods have fewer supermarkets, and consequently, less access to healthy food than do surrounding neighborhoods. In Pittsburgh, we analyzed people's perceived access to healthy food in relation to their neighborhood of residence and proximity to supermarkets. Grocery store addresses, obtained from the Allegheny County Health Department, were geocoded using ArcGIS. Population size data was obtained from the US Census Bureau. A survey that operationalizes concepts of the neighborhood-level nutrition environment was self-administered to a convenience sample of participants (n=207) at the Healthy Black Family Project at the Kingsley Association in East Liberty; responses were analyzed in SPSS. Geocoding results show that East Liberty (African American population = 75%) has the lowest population-to-supermarket ratio among Pittsburgh's neighborhoods. Yet, only three of 67 survey respondents from East Liberty and Larimer reported that their primary grocery store was either of two high quality national supermarkets in the neighborhood. Significantly more respondents from these neighborhoods reported spending more than 10 minutes travelling to their primary store than from neighboring majority white neighborhoods (African American population range from 3.4% to 7.2%) (Fisher's exact test; p=0.001). We conclude that Pittsburgh differs from other US cities with regard to some majority-African American neighborhoods being proximal to high-quality supermarkets. Yet, our study demonstrates that there are perceived barriers to accessing some supermarkets in these neighborhoods. These barriers represent targets for interventions designed to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities.

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess proximity of majority African American neighborhoods to supermarkets in Pittsburgh. 2. Analyze influences on African Americans’ perceived access to healthy foods in Pittsburgh. 3. Discuss the need for increased access to healthy foods at affordable prices in eastern neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the research, analyzed the data and wrote the abstract. I am a student at the Graduate School of Public Health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.