235286 Access to healthy and unhealthy food items in urban grocery stores: How store audit data can describe a food environment considering customer ethnicity

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 10:30 AM

Jennifer Emond, MS , Cancer Prevention and Control Program, University of California San Diego (UCSD) Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA
Hala Madanat, PhD , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Guadalupe X. Ayala, PhD, MPH , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
INTRODUCTION: Previous research has documented disparities in access to healthy foods in smaller versus larger grocery stores. Smaller grocery stores are more prevalent in urban minority communities. Studies examining differential availability of healthy and unhealthy foods in Latino communities are limited. METHODS: Store audit data from 10 Latino (tiendas) and 15 non-Latino grocery stores were identified as the main source of groceries for 80% of families enrolled in a childhood obesity study in South San Diego County. We compared the availability, quality, and cost of various foods and the relative availability of energy dense snacks (EDS) by store ethnicity. RESULTS: Tiendas were smaller than non-Latino stores (5 versus 12 aisles, p=0.003). Availability and quality of fresh produce did not differ by store ethnicity. Price per unit was lower in tiendas for most fresh produce. The cost to meet the U.S.D.A. recommended weekly servings of produce based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet was $3 lower in tiendas versus non-Latino stores (p<0.001). The cost of one gallon of skim milk was significantly higher in tiendas ($3.29 versus $2.69; p=0.005), and lean (7% fat) ground beef was available in only one tienda versus 10 (67%) non-Latino stores (p=0.01). When adjusted for store size, the relative availability of EDS was the same, despite a greater proportion of Latino-brand snack foods available in tiendas. DISCUSSION: Store audit data can shed light on similarities and differences in the access to healthy and unhealthy food options in tiendas compared to larger grocery stores.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain what a tienda is and how a tienda differs from other food stores. 2. Identify examples of objective methods used in a store audit to capture availability, quality, and cost of various produce, milk, meat, and soda and snack foods. 3. Discuss private industry practices in supporting retailers in offering their products, and how these practices may compete with public health interventions at the store level.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Hispanic

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have studied the history of and current issues related to the importance of access to healthy foods as barriers or facilitators in 1) the ability to consume a healthy diet and 2) healthy quality measures under Dr. Guadalupe X. Ayala for over one year as part of my pre-doctoral training. Additionally, I have a master in statistics and have worked professionally as a Senior Statistician for over 7 years; skills which have allowed me to identify key measurement aspects related to store audits. I have also assisted Dr. Ayala with store enumerations on one of her current studies.
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.