206959 Relationships between Neighborhood Racial Composition and Healthy Snack Food Availability in Southwest Chicago

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:30 AM

Angela Odoms-Young, PhD , Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Shannon N. Zenk, PhD , College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Young-Ku Choi, PhD , Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Sumithra Murthy, MPH , Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Erin Murphy, BS, RD , Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
There is increasing concern about the high prevalence of snack consumption among children in the United States. Snacks are frequently consumed at the expense of more conventional meals and commonly are of lower nutritional quality. Snack consumption also has been associated with an increased risk for childhood overweight. Although researchers have traditionally focused on examining individual and familial contributors to dietary behaviors, a growing body of evidence supports the role of neighborhood food environments in shaping dietary intake at the individual level. Previous research suggests that as compared to predominately white neighborhoods, African American neighborhoods offer fewer healthy food options and provide fewer resources for supporting healthful eating. Nevertheless, studies examining relationships between neighborhood racial composition and availability of healthy snacks have been limited. We conducted in-person audits of 198 retail food stores in Southwest Chicago to identify the presence/absence of healthy snacks. In-person audits were conducted using a tool developed to assess the availability of 4 healthy snack food categories including low-fat chip snacks, low-fat dairy snacks, moderate/low-fat baked/sweet snacks, and fruit/vegetable snacks. Store locations were geocoded to the census tract and classified by neighborhood characteristics (specifically race and % poverty) using data from the 2000 census. Regression analysis revealed that African American neighborhoods had fewer healthy fruit, low-fat chip, and low-fat/moderate baked/sweet snacks compared to white and racially mixed neighborhoods (p<0.05). No racial differences were found for low-fat dairy snacks. Although a negative association was found between neighborhood SES and availability of healthy snacks, racial differences were not be explained by income. However, store type (grocery vs. corner store) appeared to play an important role in racial differences in snack food availability. Results from this study suggests that improving the diversity of retail outlets and healthy options in African American neighborhoods across SES levels, could have a positive impact on healthy snack consumption.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the prevalence of snacking among children in the U.S. 2. Discuss relationships between snacking behaviors and childhood overweight. 3. Describe neighborhood-level contributors to snacking behaviors in low-income and minority children 4. Identify potential solutions to increase neighborhood availability of healthy snack foods in low-income and minority communities.

Keywords: Nutrition, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My training is in nutrition and public health and I have participated in several projects examining neighborhood food environments in African American and low-income communities 1. Odoms-Young A, Zenk S, Mason M. Measuring food availability and food access in African American communities: Implications for obesity prevention and treatment. Special Issue: Measures of the Food and Built Environments Workshop: Enhancing Research Relevant to Policy on Diet, Physical Activity, and Weight. National Cancer Institute (NCI). American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In press 2. Harley, A. E., Odoms-Young A., Beard, B., Katz, M. L. & Heaney, C. A. The impact of African American social and cultural contexts on physical activity participation. Women and Health. In press. 3. Odoms-Young A, Fitzgibbon M. Familial and environmental factors that contribute to pediatric overweight in African American populations: Implications for prevention and treatment. Progress in Pediatric Cardiology. In press. 4. Harley A, Katz M, Heaney K, Duncan D, Buckworth J, Odoms-Young A, Willis S. The role of physical activity companions in sustaining sufficient activity among African American women. American Journal of Health Promotion. In press 5. Peek M, Quinn M, Gorawara-Bhat R, Odoms-Young A, Wilson S, Chin M. How is Shared Decision-Making Defined among African-Americans with Diabetes? Patient Education and Counseling. In press 6. Odoms-Young A. Body Image Perceptions of African-American Muslim Women. Social Science and Medicine. 2008 Jun;66(12):2573-84. 7. Harley AE, Buckworth J, Katz ML, Willis SK, Odoms-Young A, Heaney CA. Developing Long-Term Physical Activity Participation: A Grounded Theory Study With African American Women. Health Education Behavior. Health Educ Behav. 2007 Nov 15.
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.