248260 Improving the community food environment - The Cleveland Corner Store Project

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ericka Abrams, MPH, Doctoral student , Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Matthew Russell, MNO , Center for Health Promotion Research, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Jennifer Scofield, MA, CHES , Health Impact Consulting, Inc., Cleveland, OH
Introduction: The Cleveland Corner Store Project (CCSP) sought to increase the consumption of local fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks and decrease exposure to alcohol and tobacco advertisements among Cleveland's residents with a focus on school-age children. It was funded by the Steps to a Cleveland initiative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Healthy Corner Store Network.

Methods: The CCSP partnered with area merchants of corner/convenience stores in three neighborhoods. A three phase pilot intervention occurred from September 2007 to September 2008. First, we utilized ArcGIS mapping to evaluate the distance between food outlets and community gardens. Secondly, merchant and customer surveys were administered. Lastly, one merchant from each neighborhood was selected (based on recommendations from a city councilperson and the Community Development Corporation) to implement the intervention. Community market gardeners were utilized to supply fresh produce to the merchants.

Results: CCSP authors chose to price the fresh fruit for individual sale and merchandise this featured fruit at the checkout or in a prominent area of the store. This strategy proved beneficial in increasing sales and minimizing spoilage.

Discussion: The project implementation was a success with all merchants following through with participation in program activities that were either provided or guided by the CCSP staff; healthy food demonstrations, strategic product placement of healthier items, and the increase of availability of fresh produce to their customers, while reducing the display of alcohol and tobacco signage, which was replaced with healthy message posters provided by the CCSP.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1) Demonstrate how a grassroots community-based corner store intervention can be implemented. 2) Explain the attitudes and motivations of store merchants relative to improving the availability of healthful food items. 3) Describe customerís attitudes, motivations and barriers regarding the purchase of fresh produce and more healthful foods from the corner/convenience store.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because am a public health practitioner and was an integral member of the team that conducted the Cleveland Corner Store Project.
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.