Online Program

Healthy eating and food purchasing for residents of low income areas: Results from studying a new supermarket opening as a result of financial incentives

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Brian Elbel, PhD, MPH, NYU School of Medicine and NYU Wagner School of Public Service, New York University, New York, NY
Background: New York City recently implemented a program to introduce supermarkets into high-need areas, aiming to change the food environment and improve eating. This policy is being considered nationally, with little known about effectiveness. We examined the influence of a recently-introduced supermarket on shopping and food consumption among residents of a low-income area of NYC. Methods: Using a difference-in-difference design, we examine impacts on adults and children 3-10. Data were collected via a street-intercept survey and follow-up telephone 24 hour dietary recall, at three points: baseline 2011; two months, and one year after opening in the community that received the supermarket and a matched comparison community. Results: No changes were noted in purchasing or consumption of healthy items or unhealthy items from baseline to first post period. Two months after opening, about 20% were able to identify or describe the new store. Reliance on supermarkets was already very high (88%) before the new store opened. At the conference we will present already collected data from one year, as well as data for those who lived a short distance from the new store. Discussion: As a result of the NYC policy to encourage healthy supermarkets in high-need areas, we found little immediate impact for the larger community, where awareness of the new store was low. Examining those who live close to the new store and the one-year post opening results will tell of the larger impact. With such initiatives being implemented and considered nationwide, an examination of their impact is critical.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate whether healthy eating increases among low-income children and adults after a new supermarket is introduced through tax and zoning incentives. Evaluate whether unhealthy eating increases among low-income children and adults after a new supermarket is introduced through tax and zoning incentives. Describe how residential distance from a supermarket affects healthy eating.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the primary investigator or co-investigator of multiple federally funded grants focusing on evaluation, obesity and food choice and I direct the CDC-funded NYU Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN), which is evaluating several New York City initiatives intended to improve healthy eating and drinking in New York City.
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.