206777 Analysis of supermarket availability in the minority communities of Suffolk County, NY

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jamie Lee Romeiser, MPH , Department of Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Melody S. Goodman, PhD , Graduate Program in Public Health/ Department of Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University - School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY
Background: Long Island, N.Y. is the 3rd most residentially segregated suburb in the country according to its black-white dissimilarity index (based on 2000 US Census data). Previous studies in U.S. cities have examined access to affordable nutritional goods for minority communities; however, no such studies have been conducted in suburban areas where additional barriers to access often exist. In this study we assess the odds of food store location by neighborhood and store type.

Methods: Demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau was used to determine the racial composition in each geographic census boundary of Suffolk County. Neighborhoods were characterized as predominately Caucasian (>75% Caucasian) versus predominately minority (>25% non-Caucasian). Suffolk County food distribution store data from the NYS Department of Agriculture was merged with the demographic data. A food store classification scheme was developed, and multivariable logistic regression analysis performed. Sensitivity analysis was performed to investigate the variation of racial cut-off values used to define communities.

Results: Large supermarkets (class 1) were more likely to be found in a predominately Caucasian neighborhood versus a predominately minority neighborhood (OR 3.02, P=0.005). Grocery stores (class 2) were more likely to appear in minority neighborhoods versus Caucasian neighborhoods (OR 2.626, P=0.009). For all racial cut-off levels, statistically significant results were achieved.

Conclusions: As supermarkets contain a greater variety of nutritional foods at more affordable pricing versus grocery stores, disparities exist regarding equal access to affordable nutritional foods in minority neighborhoods as compared to Caucasian neighborhoods in Suffolk County, NY.

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess the odds of large supermarkets and grocery stores existing in minority versus Caucasian communities in Suffolk County, NY. 2. Define the supermarket classification system used for analysis. 3. Identify predictors for supermarket location.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Prior to my graduation from a Master of Public Health program, I conducted this research with a mentor whose interests included health disparities.
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.