236204 Secular changes of in-store food availability in an urban community, 2003-2009

Monday, October 31, 2011

Akiko S. Hosler, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University at Albany School of Public Health, Rensselaer, NY
INTRODUCTION: This study assessed secular changes in the neighborhood-level availability of selected foods over a 6-year period, and identified the factors associated with the changes of the availability. METHODS: A low-income minority and a mixed-race neighborhood in Downtown Albany, NY were the setting of this study. Food stores were located through multiple administrative lists and ground-truthing. Availability (presence) of selected food items was assessed using a tested in-store survey tool. Data were collected during summer in 2003 and 2009. RESULTS: A total of 81 food stores were identified at baseline. Six stores went out of business, while 26 new stores opened by 2009. Twenty-three of the 75 continuously-operating stores had changed ownerships. High-fiber bread in the minority neighborhood was the only item with a significant (p<.01) increase in availability. Availability of fresh vegetable decreased in both neighborhoods, though the decline was not statistically significant. Disparities (measured by rate ratio) of fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk availability between two neighborhoods, with lower availability in the minority neighborhood, also increased. The store-level availability of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and low-fat milk in 2009 was positively associated with the same-item availability in 2003, but negatively associated with ownership turnover (unchanged ownership as a reference) , controlling for neighborhood racial composition. DISCUSSION: The longitudinal design of this study was able to document secular trend of food availability and a clue for the mechanism (ownership turnover) of retail food environment changes in an urban community.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Compare availability of various food items over time and across different neighborhoods using standardized population density measures. Differentiate changes in food availability due to a secular trend from a result of intervention or health promotion. Identify factors associated with store-level changes of healthy food availability over time.

Keywords: Nutrition, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of this longitudinal food assessment project, and I also serve as an assistant professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
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.