272073 A community needs assessment for the Healthy Corner Stores Project in Trenton, NJ

Monday, October 29, 2012

Daniel Giovenco, MPH , School of Public Health, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
Background. Trenton, NJ's high density of corner stores creates an unhealthy food environment that may contribute to the city's disparate rates of obesity. The Healthy Corner Stores Project conducted a community needs assessment to evaluate customers' purchasing habits and identify potential program strategies.

Methods. In March 2012, project staff visited three corner stores to collect baseline data on adult consumer behaviors. Using intercept surveys (n=42), staff assessed: how often customers shop in the corner store, typical purchases they make, where else they shop for food, and perceived barriers to buying healthy food.

Results. About a third (35.7%) of customers shop in a corner store every day and another 57.1% visit the stores at least once a week. Beverages and snacks, specifically unhealthy items like soda and chips, are the most commonly purchased products. Although 66.7% of respondents live within five blocks of a corner store, most (71.4%) indicated that it is “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to find healthy food in their neighborhoods. Nearly all customers (92.9%) travel to a supermarket to buy items like fruits, vegetables, and meat. Hispanic customers represented 57.1% of respondents.

Conclusions. Due to the large percentage of individuals that shop in corner stores daily, community health could benefit from introducing nutritious food into neighborhood stores. Offering products like fruits, vegetables, and meat could draw in customers that typically shop elsewhere for these items. This could potentially improve customer satisfaction with their neighborhood food environment and increase revenue for corner store owners.

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

Learning Objectives:
Describe corner store customers’ typical purchasing habits. Recommend strategies for healthy corner store initiatives.

Keywords: Needs Assessment, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As an intern for the Healthy Corner Stores Project, I spent over 400 hours planning and implementing program activities. I designed the data collection instruments and personally administered all surveys.
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.