268087 Variation in convenience store food availability and cost in areas with diverse ethnic representation

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Matthew Lee Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES , Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, The University of Georgia, College of Public Health, Athens, GA
Thankam Sunil, PhD , Department of Sociology, The University of Texas San Antonio, Texas, TX
Camerino I. Salazar, MS , Quality and Outcomes, University Health System-Texas Diabetes Institute, San Antonio, TX
Sadaf Rafique, MS , Department of Quality and Outcomes, Texas Diabetes Institute, San Antonio, TX
Background. Hispanic populations are disproportionately impacted by diabetes, which is partially attributed to the foods they consume. The American Diabetes Association recommends healthful food choices; however, some areas are limited in the types of foods they offer. Although food outlets influence food purchasing, less is known about the role of convenience stores as viable channels to provide healthier foods in our “grab and go” society.

Objectives. This study: (1) identified foods offered within convenience stores located in two Bexar County, Texas ZIP codes; and (2) compared the availability and cost of ADA-recommended foods including beverages, produce, grains, and oils/fats.

Methods. Data were analyzed from 27 convenience store audits performed in two diverse ZIP codes in Bexar County, Texas: ZIP A (90.9% Hispanic, 19 convenience stores) and ZIP B (47.7% Hispanic, 9 convenience stores). Chi-squared tests were used to compare food availability and t-tests were used to compare food cost in convenience stores between ZIP codes.

Results. When comparing food availability, a significantly larger proportion of ZIP B convenience stores offered bananas (X2=4.17, P=0.003), whole grain bread (X2=8.33, P=0.004), and baked potato chips (X2=13.68, P<0.001). When comparing food cost, on average the price of diet cola (t=-2.12, P=0.044) and certain produce items (e.g., bananas, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, cucumber) was significantly higher within ZIP B convenience stores.

Conclusion: While some healthful foods were available less in the Hispanic-dense ZIP A, these foods were more expensive when offered in ZIP B. Convenience stores can positively shape a community's food environment by stocking healthier foods at affordable prices.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify two differences available foods within convenience stores between these Bexar County, Texas ZIP codes. 2. Identify two differences in food cost within convenience stores between these Bexar County, Texas ZIP codes. 3. Describe three ways in which understanding the convenient store food culture can influence diabetes-related disparities among Hispanic subgroups residing in these areas.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Hispanic

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a public health researcher and educator for over a decade. Much of my work surrounds disease prevention and management among the Hispanic population.
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.