266171 Zoning for healthy food access varies by community income

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jamie F. Chriqui, PhD, MHS , Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Emily Thrun, MUPP , Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Dianne C. Barker, MHS , Public Health Institute, Oakland, Calabasas, CA
Leah Rimkus, MPH, RD , Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Frank Chaloupka, PhD , Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Introduction: Community zoning policies affect the food environment by permitting/prohibiting food outlets. This presentation will examine the extent to which local zoning ordinances permit food outlets and whether the zoning varies based on community income.

Methods: Zoning ordinances were collected from 175 local governments surrounding a nationally representative sample of 154 public secondary school catchment areas where students attending public secondary schools live. Zoning ordinances were analyzed using a reliable policy audit tool developed by the Bridging the Gap Community Obesity Measures Project. Multivariate regression models assessed the community factors influencing food outlet permitted uses including race/ethnicity, urbanicity, community income, and region. To account for the relative weight of the zoning ordinances from multiple local governments pertinent to the same school catchment, the data were weighted proportional to the population of the local jurisdiction.

Results: Ninety-three percent and 75% of communities permitted fast food restaurants and supermarkets/grocery stores, respectively. Slightly more than one-half of the communities permitted mobile vendors (55%) or produce stands (52%). Far fewer communities permitted farmers' markets (40%), fruit/vegetable carts (28%), or urban agriculture/community gardens (12%). Communities with below median household income were significantly less likely to permit supermarkets/grocery stores (OR=.27, 95% CI=.11, .64); farmers' markets (OR=.15,95% CI=.06,.38); and produce stands (OR=.45, 95% CI=.21,.98). No other community characteristics significantly affected food outlet zoning.

Conclusions: Zoning ordinances can be an important tool in creating healthy food environments. Disparities exist in the extent to which lower-income communities specifically zone to allow food outlets.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how local zoning laws affect the community food environment. 2. Describe the extent to which local zoning laws include permitted uses for food stores, convenience stores, fast food outlets, and non-store food sources including farmersí markets, mobile vendors, and community gardens. 3. Demonstrate that zoning for food outlets varies by community income levels.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 15 years' experience evaluating state and local public health policies. For the past 12 years, my research has heavily focused on obesity-related policies. I led all of the research that has contributed to this presentation, conducted the analyses, and led the abstract development.
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.